It’s not very often that we feature folk singers here on Ribbon Around a Bomb. Don’t worry guys, I’m not gonna go all Joni Mitchell on your ass anytime soon, but… Yanka Dyagileva.
Virtually unknown in her native Russia until after her death, Yanka Dyagileva was originally active in the Siberian punk scene, providing back-up vocals for Omsk punk outfit Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Russian for “Civil Defense.”)
By the mid-late ‘80s, Yanka was penning her own songs- haunting, acoustic post-punk ballads. (Is there such a thing as that? YES.) Although I don’t understand the lyrics, I’ve read that they are generally anti-establishment.
It wouldn’t be doing her justice to call her a “Soviet Nico,” so I won’t. Except that I just did. Anyway, I’ve recently fallen in love with several of her songs, these two being my favorites:
Yanka’s world (and the Soviet Union) began to crumble in the late ‘80s. In 1991, she drowned herself in the Inya River, and the world lost a wonderful talent at the age of 24.
If you happen to know Russian, there is a pretty comprehensive-lookin’ tribute site here.