Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ochi Chernye

There is a great jazz version of this song by Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt and others (it's called 'Dark Eyes').
I like the pure gypseyness of this version. Often in Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky a character will be described as spending days with the gypsies, often burning through great wads of money in the process. Sometimes the squandered money will be a plot device. This clip gives an idea of the mix of dissipation and joie d’verve that the character must experience. The Russian writers seem to assume the reader knows what is going on with the gypsies (cultural imperialism that I’m sure Obama would frown on). But it doesn’t look to me like the money could have been totally wasted.

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