During this period estrada – which includes comedy, literary readings, and circus arts as well as popular song – saw the birth of tangos, foxtrots, waltzes, and big bands. MacFadyen shows how a nomadic art form survived the pressures of business before the 1917 Revolution and those of politics afterwards. The author traces the careers of early singers such as Izabella Iur’eva, Tamara Tsereteli, and others who struggled to continue to perform as they fled the dangers of a Soviet society that had little patience for cafe-culture. MacFadyen follows their trail through Eastern Europe to Paris and London, then across to New York and San Francisco, and back into Russia through the smoky, emigre bars of colourful Chinese towns. He pays particular attention to the notion of “mass” songs inside the Soviet Union and explores the relationship of official and public approval. By looking at how these performers used success at home and abroad to become recording stars, film stars, and eventually television personalities, MacFadyen avoids the conventional dichotomies about the East Block to show the complexity of Soviet culture.
The Department of Comparative Literature
Give Back Every donation matters.