“A cosmopolitan world-class product,” “interest in many genres from soul to trip-hop, the ability to navigate flawlessly in them and produce hits,” are quotations from my assessment of Manizhi’s 2017 album. The artist’s aesthetic inclinations were broad and unformed at the moment, and who would have predicted that they would not become more defined over the next four years? On the contrary, Manizhi’s musical omnivorousness was supplemented by song remarks on social and political issues: All of these “Nedoslavian ladies” stated that the singer was not going to amuse, but rather to discuss refugee issues and the clash of Western and Eastern mentalities.

All of this social and webpage musical activity, however, took place far away from the front pages of the major news outlets – Manizha remained an indie singer, surrounded by a tiny group of admirers and allies. Everything changed in the spring of 2021, when Russia sent Manizha to Eurovision with the odd song “Russian Woman.” The promotion campaign was conducted on a first-channel scale: the entire country learnt about the Manizhi family’s history, as well as the perspective of a Russian Tajik lady and web page the challenges she encountered in Russia. At the same time, the musical component fell back into the background: the competition song “Russian Woman” was a mix of ethnic chants, multilingual recitative, and a message that was not quite clear. The townspeople had no idea what type of singer Manizha was.

The musician was intended to start a new life after the competition: although finishing ninth at Eurovision, Manizha’s involvement and TV advertising earned her a huge boost in fame. However, she has failed to capitalize on this: several planned concerts were postponed owing to coronavirus limitations, and the repertoire remained omnivorous and unintelligible, as seen by the current CD.

“Russian Woman Show” is a live album with only five songs. Manizha is hidden beneath pianist and composer Kirill Richter on the cover, despite the fact that he contributed to just two of the five works. They should receive the most attention: “The aircraft are flying away,” a piano cover rendition of a song from Alla Pugacheva’s repertoire. Manija handles the tragic ballad beautifully, making a strong claim to be able to fill the vacant role of the Prima Donna. The following numbers, web page on the other hand, have nothing to do with romance-like pop music – in them, Manizha displays the same multilingual blend of ethnicity, psychedelics, and indie rock, which is not always obvious to Pugacheva’s admirers. For experienced listeners, we recommend the composition “Stand Up,” which stands out notably against the backdrop of the disc’s closing track, “Russian Woman.” This is a rare occurrence, but even many replays of this Eurovision song did not make it more listenable.

  • Share

leave a Comment