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Zulya and the Children of the Underground

Marika Bryant

NORPA: Aria award winning Tartar/Russian Songstress, Zulya, mesmerised the audience last night at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore, me included.
Zulya and the Children of the Underground
Zulya and the Children of the Underground – now doesn’t that sound like an interesting name for a band of musicians playing innovative and contemporary music with a twist? Well, it does not stop at just the name. These treasures follow through. Aria award winning Tartar/Russian Songstress, Zulya, mesmerised the audience last night at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore, me included. There is something about Russian-esque anything that gets my blood stirring and these original compositions are so haunting that I’m back in the Republic of Tatarstan, and I’ve never ever been there before! Now that is music that literally carries you away. Zulya writes lyrics that, well, you just can’t understand, but you do, anyway, if you get my linguistic drift. Actually, if you are Russian, you will understand her lyrics, but then you would miss out on the humorous banter and the quirky repartee when Zulya is delivering her ballads, explaining the next song you are about to hear. Zulya is very funny. Lines like “here is our Pop song” and then the explanation of the Pop Festival they played at, where they were asked to play live, not lip-synching to a back-up tape: Zulya and he Children of the Underground took part in the inaugural festival Creation of Peace, Kazan, Tatarstan, and now they use their “pop” song as a ring-tone, which Zulya found very amusing (and so did the audience – appreciative laughs out loud). Whether this is actually true or not, who cares, as it was extremely funny explaining the event! Another intro hit: “it is a sad song, but it is good in the end” outlining the Tatar nursery-rhyme she appropriated, creating a musical masterpiece. Zulya explains that Tatarstan is “nowhere near any other Stans”, and that the Tatars, well, are very weird people. Zulya, like I said, is very funny. Wonderful music for pondering; emotive and creative. Fairytales set to music (jazzy, funky, folky, cabaret style, with a touch of the burlesque thrown in) with five musicians in all (including Zulya) playing these well constructed, impeccably timed and mood-setting arrangements. Haunting trumpet; heartfelt guitar; accomplished drummer beating the time; soulful double bass; succinct keyboard; melodic jew’s harp; all cohesively joined in the job of creating a very different sound indeed. Even had a touch of the Turkish about it, too (or was I getting lost in the moment?) A midweek delight to witness. Presentation of Zulya and the Children of the Underground is proudly supported by Kultour, touring multicultural arts, changing Australian culture – an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts. Zulya and the Children of the Underground 2010 Tour has been developed in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria (a Kultour Company Member). Zulya and the Children of the Underground will be performing regionally and around at the following venues and dates. If you can’t get to one of these musically ornate concerts, then buy their new CD, Tales of Subliming and check out the wonderment yourselves! NSW Thursday 15 April Riverside Theatres Parramatta T 02 8839 3399 Friday 16 April City Recital Hall, Angel Place T 02 8256 2222 Saturday 17 April Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre T 02 6333 6161 ACT Sunday 18 April The Street Theatre T 02 62471223 WA Thursday 22 April Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Thornliegh T 9493 4577 Friday 23 April KULCHA Multicultural Arts of WA T 08 9336 4544 SA Saturday 24 April Nexus Cabaret VIC Friday 30 April The Capital Bendigo Performing Arts Centre T 54346100 Sunday 2 May Chateau Mildura, Mildura T 03 50 188 330 Saturday 8 May Knox Community Arts Centre T 03 9729 7287 Friday 14 May ïMalmsbury Town Hall, Macedon Ranges 1300 88 88 02 Saturday 15 May Kingston Arts Centre T 03 9556 4440 Thursday May 20 Mechanics Hall, Apollo Bay Friday 21 May Portland Arts Centre T 03 5522 2263 Saturday 22 May Hamilton Performing Arts Centre T 03 5573 0429 Friday 28 May Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre T 03 5722 8105 Saturday 29 May Upper Yarra Arts Centre, Warburton T 03 5966 4500
What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Marika Bryant is an artist and writer living in Northern New South Wales, graduating from Southern Cross University (Bachelor of Visual Arts) in 2004. Marika has worked as a writer for magazines, advertising agencies and other ‘strictly for profit’ institutions and is now focussing on her career as an abstract expressionistic, poetry based artist with a twist. Having written (and performed) the odd comedy skit, and been caught behind the microphone once or twice, Marika can empathise with many in the ‘arty world’, knowing that it isn’t always easy!