Apr 042010
 

It’s difficult, as a non-Russian speaker, to fully educate myself about Yuri Shevchuk and his music. My inability to even type in Cyrillic makes the Internet searches particularly fraught. Fortunately I can at least read basic Cyrillic, and with cutting-and-pasting I can enter names and titles into search engines. (“Юрий Шевчук” = Yuri Shevchuk; “ДДТ” = DDT.) As for fully understanding what I get back, GoogleTranslate is often helpful, if not 100% accurate, in getting the gist of what was being said or sung. Plus I have a year of college Russian to fall back on. In fact, it’s been interesting: doing all this Internet spelunking to find out more about the man and his music has caused me to dust off my textbook and dig out long-buried memories of grammar and vocabulary. Indeed, so enthralled and engaged am I by what I’ve found so far, it’s even motivating me to renew my Russian studies, just so I can understand what he’s been saying!
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Apr 042010
 

The following is an example of why we need a free and open Internet.

Hearing a Seal song the other day reminded me of my visit to Russia way back in 1992. It was part of a high school exchange, and my host student and I got along great. So well, in fact, that it was incomprehensible that our worlds had been so closed off from each other. Now that they were open it was so nice to be free to connect with someone so much like me.

One of the ways we connected was through music. As I wrote a few years ago:

Although [my friend’s] English was good enough that we were able to converse, she wasn’t able to pick up the lyrics to songs she liked. One of them was [Seal’s] “Kissed by a Rose.” She had a sense that it was deeply poetic and asked me to transcribe the lyrics for her. The exercise forced me to listen to it closely and I realized she was right.

So I shared with her that music. She, for her part, gave me Yuri Shevchuk, whose lyrics were much the same.
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