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Popular Music in Communist and Post-Communist Europe

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Edited By Jan Blüml, Yvetta Kajanová and Rüdiger Ritter

Through selected topics, the book presents an up-to-date and comprehensive view of the popular music of communist and post-communist Europe. The studies introduce new sources, discuss transformations of the institutional background of popular music of the given geopolitical sphere, its social, cultural-political, or artistic conditions. Thanks to the time span of nearly thirty years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the authors have in many ways revised or supplemented traditional post-communist perceptions of the issues in question. This is being done with respect to the genres such as jazz, rock, pop, singer-songwriters, hip-hop, or White Power Music, as well as across the whole region from the former Yugoslavia through Central European states to the countries of the former Soviet Union.

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An Internal Migration: The Shifts in the Perceptions and Uses of English in Russian Rock Music (1963–2017)

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Abstract: In this article we investigate how the perception of English in Russian rock music has shifted through the years, with particular focus on the contemporary context. Whilst English is used as a tool for creating meaning, at the same time its presence is vehemently criticized. Over all, we argue that English represents for Anglophone Russian rock musicians an ‘internal migration’, that has had different destinations over the years.

Keywords: language choice; English; Russian; rock music; migration

Introduction

Multiple language ideologies do not necessarily compete to describe some absolute truth but rather reflect the differing interpretive and experiential positions held by individuals.1

Drawing on the quote above, we argue that the reasons for language choice in rock music are several, and language choice does not disclose any absolute truth; rather, it informs about three ideas: first, the perceptions of rock music—the trends, movements and fashions—of the time and place where the choice is made; second, the layers above: politics, globalization, relations of power and cultural hierarchies between different countries; third, the personality of the chooser, their intimate meanings, and the way they position themselves in the world. Such distinction explains why languages are always perceived differently depending on cultural and political environments, and personal reasons.

In the case of Russian rock music, the main language choice has been between Russian and English. The reason for this is that, for a number of Soviet and post-Soviet musicians,...

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