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22.10.2003

The summer has gone … Long live Indian summer!

However, the summer came to an end not in Slovakia, but in our native land. We felt we are home while crossing the border. We drove to a small town Iujhnii that is near Odessa to perform a concert, as it was the Independence Day of the Ukraine. Although we were in a hurry, the thoughts of the Ukrainian customs official were focused on a totally different issue. The thing is that many borderers of that zone fixed quite a good fuel business, transporting cheep Ukrainian gasoline to Slovakia. Thus, our customs official found himself in a tricky situation: the insolent Moldovan musicians don’t want to donate anything. His consciousness didn’t want to accept the inevitable, and he insisted that we alight. The entreaties that we are late and have to be in time for the Independence Day created no impression on the customs officer. We almost drooped down when his young, more compliant colleague, intervened in the disagreement. Listening to us attentively, and having a short consultation with his mate, he, nevertheless, decided to meet us half-way, and took for his own only 20 Grivnas (Ukrainian currency units), as it could have been totally improperly to let us go for no particular reason. Unfortunately, we were late for our own concert, and, because of that, we had to postpone it to one day, which is not within our usual practice. When we arrived to this unknown seaport Iujhnii, we immediately felt the singularity of its atmosphere. We had a sense that we got to another planet, to a Utopian city from a science fiction. We remembered well the leaden see, the lunches in the school canteen, several ships in the harbor, and many women with baby carriages. Can you imagine a picture: you go into the street, and there – only women with baby carriages. There were so many of them. The inhabitants of this notable autonomous city live according to their own unwritten laws, are engaged in harbor related activities, and are not quite worrying about the outside life. Only fancy how the inhabitants of this seaport Iujhnii were looking at us! That’s right: they were gazing at us as if we were extraterrestrials! This is what we were longing for… But the independence days were not over so far, one more day was left: our Moldovan Independence Day. The final summer concert was held on the central Chisinau square during a big 4-day beer festival. Except us, there were lots of other local bands. “Tantsi Minus” and “Splin” have also been invited. We performed as an ethno musical band, and, together with salute, closed the big festival day – the Independence Day of Moldova. During the last two years, this was the first domestic open-air concert, which was attended by 40 000 people, and became the biggest Z&Z concert, ever performed in the native Chisinau. The summer was smoothly turning into the Indian one. We flew away to Novosibirsk. For us, it’s another unknown planet. The uncommonness of the concert was that everything was all right. A good club, called Rock City, an excellent stage, adjusted light and sound, and, which is the most important – wonderful people. It is fine, when all these components are harmonized, but it’s a pity that this happens with us not quite often. Also, we were glad to see Moldovan people at the concert. We don’t know how they appeared there. Many of them were singing with us in Romanian. And this is nicely, especially when you are far away from home. In the club, we unexpectedly met Mihail Rapoport, who once organized our concert in Altai. That concert is still considered one of the most brilliant within our recollection of Z&Z history. We talked to Mihail, and found out that he is going to organize a big Siberian Festival soon with our possible humble participation.
From the Siberian capital, the plain ferried us to the Ukrainian capital. The NOKIA Company, famous for its attention devoted to extreme sports, was the organizer of the local festival. In the area of Kiev Exhibition of National Economy Achievements, people mounted a nine-storied house spring-board, and forced the local snowboarders perform some feats there. Meanwhile, we, together with many other artists, had to play in front of many thousands people. There were so many people, that it was practically impossible to get to the stage. The organization of the event was up-to-date: adjusted light and sound, excellent stage. But the winter holiday was not a full success, as the snow was melting due to poor operation of the freezing installations, and the snowboarders presented a pitiful sight. Thus, we were made responsible for the general entertainment of the audience, and played 40 minutes, instead of 15, wondering, from time to time, about the question: “would there be any snow at all”?
10.10.2003

At Hodocvas in beer’s veritas

The final summer chords resounded through Slovakia. There, not far from Bratislava, at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, at the turn of August, the Hodocvas Festival was held. The said Festival was characterized by a modern word “multimedia”, which stands for a potpourri of many genres, styles and tendencies of the contemporary art. Thus, the program of the Hodocvas Festival contained theatrical performances, literary soirees, viewing of movies as well as various artistic performances. The atmosphere at that binge was a very hippy and off-hand one. People with “alternative” appearances flooded the territory, putting up their tents right near the stages. The entrance was priced at 5 Euro. Paying this fee, it was possible to ramble from stage to stage the whole day long, familiarizing oneself with the latest tendencies. As regards music – ethno, latino and ska were prevailing, and the grass + beer + a lot of food mix set the respective mood of overall nonchalance and total relaxation. The whole Festival reminded more of a big hippy picnic, rather than a rock-festival. When we went on stage, we couldn’t even quite realize what it was all about. We played the first song to sway the audience: no way, the latter was unresponsive; the second – the same effect. And only then it hit us that the audience came here not for the heat of passion, but to relax, and that our zealous efforts are beside the point. Nevertheless, the representatives of Warner Music attended that Festival, and we had to show a high quality performance. Negotiations with the given records company are still being carried on. Besides, we got acquainted with bed-bugs, which shared with us the hotel and found out that during the Iron Curtain period many people were crossing the Slovakian-Austrian border via hang-gliders. Take a run from one bank of the Danube River, jump slightly and find yourself several seconds thereafter on the other river bank, and in another country. What kind of visa problems are people talking about?
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