Where is Udmurtia? Only those who paid attention in geography lessons know how to correctly classify the republic in the “Volga Federal District” geographically. Udmurtia is located in the European part of Russia west of the Ural Mountains between the rivers Kama and Vyatka and is mainly characterized by the taiga landscape. From these endless expanses comes ShooDJa-ChooDJa, a new and unusual Russian folk ensemble: the duo consists of singer Nataliya Dzyga and electronic tinkerer and DJ Pavel Perevozchikov. The musicians have set out to actively bring the unique singing tradition of the Udmurt and Bessermen into the here and now. On their debut album “Shooldyrak”, Perevozchikov’s very modern and modern-sounding electronic sounds respectfully and sensitively approach the centuries-old traditions of the ancestors, which are threatening to disappear in today’s Russia. But the focus is on the powerful, expressive voice of Nataliya Dzyga.
The duo’s particular musical style is “full of magical melodies,” as ShooDJa-ChooDJa say. Specifically, this style is called Krez. The basics of Krez are improvisation and emotional message, depending on the situation: “Suan Gur”, for example, is heard at weddings, while “Soldier Kelyan Krez” has a reference to the boys who have to do service in the army.
The melodies change depending on the mood. The lyrics consist of spontaneous associations. The literal meaning is not the main thing: the performers create their own energy field in the Krez, which consists of sounds, sensations and emotions, explain ShooDJa-ChooDJa.
With their songs, ShooDJa-ChooDJa also remind us of the fact that in Udmurtia the Finno-Ugric peoples of the Udmurt and Mari were once in the majority. Today Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars and Bessermen make up the larger part of the population. However, shamanism is still very common in the villages.
Dzyga and Perevozchikov work with ancient Uudmurt and Bessermen melodies on their debut. They use pagan prayers and ritual songs of the Udmurt people as well as formal chants from weddings, fertility ceremonies and liturgical festivals and basically combine everything with various trends of electronic music.
Year of Release: 2021