Author: Julie Hersh

Doctor Aybolit / Доктор Айболит

Doctor Aybolit (Доктор Айболит) is a series of short animated films that aired in the 1980s in the Soviet Union. The central character was created by popular Soviet poet, translator, literary critic and, above all, children’s writer Korney Chukovskiy (Корней Чуковский), and the character has appeared not only in this series but in a number of […]

The Summer of Saingalė / Sangailės vasara

The Summer of Saingalė (Sangailės vasara) is a Lithuanian drama film from 2016. Lithuania selected it as its entry to the 2016 Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. It did, however, receive many other international awards. The film tells the story of two young women, Saingalė and Austė. They meet at an air show: Saingalė wants […]

Aminata Savadogo

Aminata Savadogo (she often goes by just Aminata) is a Latvian contemporary singer. Her music is influenced by her multiethnic roots—Russia, Latvia, and Burkina Faso—and displays a sound refreshing and unusual in today’s Latvia. She sings mostly in English, sometimes in Russian, and rarely in Latvian. According to her official biography, “her strong and unique […]

Music Box / Музычная скарбонка

Music Box (Музычная скарбонка) is a series of a few Belarusian short animated films that illustrate and give context to Belarusian folk songs. They were released in 2009 and 2012 by Belarusfilm (Беларусьфільм), the country’s national film studio. They range from three to about 10 minutes long. The series includes songs from a range of […]

The Mitten / Рукавичка

The Mitten (Рукавичка) is a 1996 short animated film. It was produced in Ukraine but is almost wordless—though there is nice music!. It’s about eight minutes long. (It should not be confused with the 1967 Soviet puppet film Варежка, which also has the English title The Mitten. That one is about a girl who wants a puppy so […]

Golden Parazyth

Golden Parazyth is a Lithuanian band that first appeared in 2005. Their genre is pretty broad, encompassing electronica, pop, classic rock, and alternative rock. Its current members are Giedrius Širka (GP; producer, lead vocals, electronic instruments, guitar) and Aurimas Vilkišius (Keta or K@; producer, backing vocals, electronic instruments, keyboards). They sing in Lithuanian and English. GP […]

Treasure Island / Остров сокровищ

Treasure Island (Остров сокровищ in Russian; Острів скарбів in Ukrainian) is, among many other things, a 1988 Russian/Ukrainian/Soviet animated full-length film. Though it was produced by the Ukrainian animated film studio Kyivnaukfilm (Київнаукфільм), it’s entirely in Russian, as was common for the Soviet Union. It actually consists of two parts, “Captain Flint’s Map (“Карта капитана […]

Language Anew / Мова Нанова

Language Anew (Мова Нанова) is a Belarusian TV show, one of the very, very few that are actually in Belarusian. Because of Belarus’s history of very close ties with Russia, Belarusian is very rarely spoken in most areas of Belarus (somewhat similar to in Ukraine, but more pronounced), and most Belarusian media is in Russian. The […]

Nesterka / Нестерка

Nesterka (Нестерка) is a series of Belarusian short animated films. There are eight in total, each a few minutes long, produced by National Film Studio “Belarusfilm” (Национальная киностудия “Беларусьфильм”). The first episode/film was released in 2004, the last in 2012. According to Belarusfilm, Nesterka is one of Belarus’s most treasured folk heroes. Nesterka is often […]

Leon Somov & Jazzu

Leon Somov & Jazzu is a contemporary Lithuanian band. They refer to themselves as pop/electronica, but their music has a deep, soulful edge that transcends and defies those genres. They sing in both Lithuanian and English. The group was created by Leonas Somovas (Leon Somov) and Justė Arlauskaitė (Jazzu) in 2007. Somov is the band’s leader and […]

Antis

Antis is a Lithuanian postmodernist rock band that’s been around since 1984. The name literally translates as “duck,” but in Lithuanian it also refers to… fake news!—or more accurately, “a false mass media sensation,” as the band puts it. This had a lot of resonance when the band first formed, at the end of the Soviet […]

Dagö

Dagö is an Estonian folk/ethno band. They formed in 1998 and have been active on and off to the present day, though their main popularity and success came in the early 2000s. The band’s name is taken from the historic (German/Swedish) name for Hiiumaa, an island off the northwest coast of Estonia. The founding members were Lauri Saatpalu […]

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