1. Grief 2. Well 3. Naya Naya 4. Youth 5. The River 6. Drunk 7. Pavushka 8. Early Early 9. Mower 10. Manechka
Inna Zhelannaya Cocoon
Admittedly, I don’t know much about Russian Folk music, and chances are, you don’t know much either. However, if more of it is like Inna Zhelannaya’s latest release, Cocoon, I will certainly be making myself more and more familiar. Inna is labeled as the “first world music star of Russia”, which I cannot really confirm or deny, but her press kit says so, and I’m not one to argue this.
Musically, if you told me that I was about to listen to some Russian folk music, I would be preparing myself for something that I would imagine to be hearing come from a rustic, snowed in bar in the middle of Russia (this is probably very American of me though). If you share a similar preconception, then you would also be wrong.
Cocoon is full of Armenian changes and Georgian peasant songs, but they have a very modern sound. Not only is this Inna Zhelannaya’s way, but she is also aided by King Crimson’s Trey Gunn, who co-produced the release and adds his guitar. The result is something that reminds me of more current releases by artists like The Knife/Fever Ray and Lykke Li, though comparisons to PJ Harvey and the Bulgarian Women’s Choir have been made as well.
Personally, I didn’t find many flaws in this release. My only complaints would be that the tempo from song to song doesn’t change too much, some of the songs are a little similar right next to each other, and nearly 69 minutes for 10 songs is a pretty lengthy release. Still, Cocoon is a very interesting and creative album, and I think if you have any inkling to try it, you need to sample the tracks. I have recommended a few of them, but each one has something different to offer. For some, they may have issues with the songs not being performed in English, but how often do we not even understand the music we listen to that is in English? Inna Zhelannaya is doing something that should be different and new to most everyone so definitely check it out.