RUSSIA 2014: THE ARMY TAKES OVER?
Vasil Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – The official choir of the Russian Army will try out for the 2014 Eurovision song contest in Copenhagen, the ensemble’s director said Thursday. “We have the lyrics already, now we need to find a composer,” Leonid Malev of the Alexandrov Russian Army Academic Song and Dance Ensemble told journalists in Moscow.
“The lyrics will hopefully catch the attention of Russian and European citizens,” he added, without elaborating.
Russia’s 2014 Eurovision entry elimination round kicks off in November and wraps up on December 31. The Alexandrov Ensemble has already appeared on the Eurovision stage in 2009, when it performed the opening music for the contest’s finale in Moscow, but it was not in the running.
The ensemble, comprising a male voice choir, an orchestra and a dance troupe, was founded in 1928. Though most performers in the current lineup are civilians, they dress in army uniforms for shows and are a staple at army-themed celebrations in Russia.
The ensemble’s repertoire includes about 2,000 compositions, mostly comprised of Russian folk songs and Soviet-era tunes, but opera classics and even the occasional pop hit are also included.
The choir has toured extensively and has performed with artists including Pink Floyd, Finnish rockers Leningrad Cowboys and LGBT pop sensation t.A.T.u.
The ensemble, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, has also recently recorded a “youth version” of Russia’s national anthem with several Russian pop stars. Last Sunday, it also performed the anthem in Moscow with some 200 members of the country’s leading motorcycle club, the patriotic-leaning Night Wolves, who have ridden with President Vladimir Putin on several occasions.