The mystery of the Buranovski grandmothers.
When they first appeared on the stage in the Russian national selection of Eurovision’s song competition in 2010, their first performance received a standing ovation. Young people, famous musicians and reputable producers were watching the performance of this unique group with amazement. At that time the name “Buranovski grandmothers” officially entered Russian show business. The originality and sincerity of the performers conquered the hearts of the Russian audience with this performance. Spectators hardly expected the 70-year-old “grandmothers” to come to Moscow and perform in front of a huge TV audience. The following morning the Internet exploded with news stating that “grandmothers” from an unknown Udmurt village Buranovo had taken third place in the final part of the Russian Eurovision song competition. The video clip with the performance of the amazing “grandmothers” immediately became the number one hit on the Russian Internet. Around 30,000 people watched the clip over the next 2 days. Internet users delightedly commented on the ‘grandmothers’ astonishing show: “Well done”, “Outstanding”, “Fabulous”. People were deeply impressed by how they easily managed to turn on the audience who gave them, in turn, a standing ovation. It was said that the ‘grandmothers’ with their originality and sincerity could have won the Eurovision final in Oslo 2010.
Once upon a time in the foothills of the Urals there was an ancient tribe which gave life to many other Finno-Ugric people including the Udmurts (one of the nations in Russia).The Finno-Ugric ancestors were observant and knew the laws of nature and the world. Their descendants spread throughout Europe having developed their own language. They all now create the Finno-Ugric world.
The triumphal song which the ‘grandmothers” performed on stage at the National Eurovision competition was written 10 years ago by one of the singers of the group Elizaveta Zarbatova or just Granny Liza. That was the time when the group “Buranovski grandmothers” first appeared. Granny Liza confessed that she was very glad her song was heard by many people. She would have come to Moscow to take part in the contest but she is already 80. The song is about the difficult times of Udmurt women and their destiny in life. It’s about their concerns raising and feeding many children, making clothes of flax for them, teaching a young mare to plough the land, sowing seeds and cultivating crops, etc.
Many show-business specialists are puzzled over the ‘grandmothers’ phenomenon. The “Buranovski grandmothers” is a small group headed by Olga Tuktaeva. None of them have ever thought of a professional career in show business, they were just going to sing. They sing the way their great-grand mothers did many, many years ago. At the same time they always have something to surprise the audience with. For example, they have sung some of Tsoi’s and Grebentshikov’s songs (distinguished Russian singers) and even Beatles’ songs in the Udmurt language. They continue practicing those genuine values which have been passed on from generation to generation for ages. They still live off the land as well as their ancestors did. They may refuse to perform only because it’s time to plant potatoes or their domestic animals are about to give birth. And everyone accepts that with respect. In the local club of their village Buranovo they opened a museum without any outside help where are exhibited 200-year-old headscarves, an old gramophone and other utensils. One of their fans says: “The ‘grandmothers taught me many things, they made me review my life. When I feel depressed and something fails, I remember the ‘grandmothers’ and tell myself: “Stop whining. Look at the ‘grandmothers’ what they have gone through. It helps me to get up and keep going. They have had a wholesome effect on me.”
There is one more very important issue to them. In 1939 in their village the only church was razed to the ground and during the Soviet times it wasn’t rebuilt. Since then the local villagers have been attending the nearest church which is 40 kilometers away. The grandmothers only dream is to build a church in their home village. This may be one of the incentives which make them want to appear on the big stage.
Folklore has been in fashion in Europe for the last few years. There is nothing similar to the group “Buranovski grandmothers” in modern show business. None of the specialists can determine exactly the style and the genre the ‘grandmothers’ work in. But one fact is certain, they have provoked great interest not only in Russia but also abroad. Japanese journalists have shot an episode about the grandmothers, Finnish TV is preparing a big program and RTR (the second biggest Russian channel) is shooting a video clip.
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