Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Monday, June 04, 2007 

"I have a hard time explaining the type of music we play; acoustic, folk, jazz; 'world music' is not seen as quite so dismissive in Europe," laughs vocalist extraordinaire Zulya Kamalova, speaking from the road during a tour of regional Victoria, her first with her infant daughter. "This tour has been really well received, but there's not a lot of time for sleep." she says, her voice still sparkling. Making music her life has seen Zulya play everywhere from Stawell to Siberia. "It's very different to playing in Russia where I add more of the Tartar songs. I don't want to be seen as a representative of traditional Tartar music though, I used to be more that person who would, you know 'take traditional Tartar music and do whatever with it' but now it's more of a band thing." Well known in Tartarstan, she says her music garners mixed responses. "Some people there don't really get me. They want me to be this pop star who's trying to get on Eurovision you know, that's how they see overseas success. Since we get invited to play these festivals there I guess they see me as being this representative of Tartar to the world, but it's more about my experiences and the band's music now."

Though sometimes unfairly dismissed as 'circus' or 'gypsy' music by the inattentive casual listener, most who stumble across (music this unusual is something few actively search for) this band are amazed firstly at the wonder that is the voice of Zulya, and that this music can originate here and now in Melbourne. Adding a very necessary and desirable cultural edge to the Australian music scene, Zulya, a native here for over 15 years, has been steadily and unceremoniously forging a place for herself, and recently her accompanying Children Of The Revolution.

"I have felt outside of the Australian music scene of course, but once I arrived here it did seem to be a place I could make music and find an audience; that early music feels like it was by someone entirely different now. In the beginning it was more an expression of my culture, now I've got this wonderful band and 3 Nights is more an expression of us than me. The band (Andrew Tanner - double bass and jews harp, Justin Marshall - percussion and drums, Lucas Michailidis - guitar and Anthony Schulz - accordion) have been a fixture for several years now. "Sometimes they need to be kept in check," she laughs, "particularly on songs they write, but we have a sound now and everyone knows where they fit in to that." This sound sees them as fluid and able to translate as vast a range of feeling as Zulya's voice. The CD was mainly recorded live, and live the band really shine.

"We used to get an older, more 'ABC' crowd," she laughs. "But lately there have been a lot more young people coming to the shows." For escapist reasons perhaps? "Well I never thought of it that. I guess since I listen to a lot of music in other languages I don't feel transported to their country, but I do love the way that I will put all of these feelings into a song and tell a story and someone gets something totally different out of it."

With 3 Nights following it's predecessor into the European World Music Top 10 this week, there is clearly a broad audience for whatever sort of music it is that Zulya And The Children Of The Revolution play. Expect that audience to expand at this Saturday's CD launch.

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