Давай! Dawai, Dawai in Austria: Russkaja

When the Russians come to Austria, it usually means wild parties ’til you drop and you may expect to see one or the other vodka glass flying through the air. Russkaja is the best example that there is a spark of truth to this – let us say – xenophobia. Granted, amongst the 7-headed band there is only one real Russian, namely singer Georgij Makazaria. This however does not detract from the hustle and bustle of the musicians, since hot Balkan blood simmers in all of the band members. In Austria, Russkaja has no need for further introduction, since they are already known by pretty much every Austrian as court musicians of the Austrian late-night show  „Willkommen Österreich“ [in English: “Welcome Austria”]. In addition, there is hardly any spot left in the Alpine country where the band has not yet performed.

Always on the go – these are exactly the words that best describe Russkaja. No other Austrian band performs as many concerts as this septet, which has already enthused large masses at huge festivals such as the famous German metal festival Wacken Open Air. Live performances seem to be their passion, so it comes as no surprise that they have only released two albums up to this day. With their stylistic mix of ska and power polka, it definitely makes more sense to rock the stage than to vegetate in the studio. Ultimately, the audience wants to be entertained. The stage berserkers have been serving musical indulgence since 2005. It was the former Stahlhammer-singer Georgij who started the band Russkaja, which name is composed of the words Russia, ska and an affirming “ja” [yes in German]. With a positive basic attitude, the group has ever since performed gigs around the world and has enthralled audiences between the Netherlands and the Bosphorus, which are just as diverse as their music. The colorful Russkaja sound lies somewhere between world jazz pop, funk, and high-speed brass, and can be understood as a postmodern version of Balkan folk music. The lyrics are sometimes in English, sometimes in German, but mostly in Russian, which however does not keep the audience from conjointly bawling to Russkaja’s sound.

A year after its founding, the band signed with the independent label Chat Chapeau, which specializes in world music. After the release of the EP “Dawai, Dawai” in the same year, it took two years until they released their debut album “Kasatchok Superstar”. The full-blooded musicians put a lot of heart into the album. Besides front man and singer Georgij Makazaria, the members of Russkaja are Antonia Georgiew (violin), Zebo Adam (guitar), Titus Vado (Schalgzeug), Dimitri Miller (bass), Manfred Franzmeier (saxophone, clarinet), and Hans Georg Gutternigg, who plays a most extraordinary instrument, namely the potete (mix of trombone and trumpet). Some of the band members were active in Austrian formations such as Drahdiwaberl, Hallucination Company, or Hot Pants Road Club, or have a classical background, such as Antonia, the only female in the male-dominated septet, who already won many awards at a young age.

The sequel to the debut album was released in 2010. “Russian Voodoo” is the most recent record from Russkaja and was released on Geco Tonwaren, an alternative label of Hoanzl, which also released many other albums by prestigous Austrian bands and musicians such as Texta, Harry Stojka or EAV. 14 songs with titles like “Ras Dwa tri” or “Gulaj Duscha” are responsible for the listener’s decent portion of eastalgia. Russkaja is definitely the most fun group since the 80s hits of Dschingis Khan. Everyone should at least once see and experience a performance by Russkaja and enjoy, for example, the collective dance “Spinning Wheel”. During times when the septet is not performing on stage, the members often collaborate with other musicians. Mono&Nikitaman, Alkbottle or Udo Jürgens are only a few names that benefited from Russkaja’s idiosyncratic sound. It is not yet determined if there will be a third album in 2012, but one thing is for sure: The countries stages are yet again to be conquered in the new year.

Upcoming Concerts:

  • 16.02.2012 Prag (CZ) – Lucerna Music Bar
  • 29.03.2012 Freising (D) – Lindenkeller
  • 30.03.2012 Mannheim (D) – Alte Seilerei
  • 31.03.2012 Traunstein (D) – Metro
  • 12.05.2012 Braunau (A) – Rock am Inn Festival
  • 25.05.2012 Straubing (D) – Pfingst Open Air
  • 26.05.2012 Eichstätt (D) – Open Air am Berg
  • 15.06.2012 Altenfelden (A) – Folk Rock Night
  • 23.06.2012 Winden/See (A) – Woodrock-Festival
  • 07.07.2012 Brande (D) – Hörnerfest
  • 21.07.2012 Erlangen (D) – Frankenkultur Festival
  • 22.07.2012 Cuxhaven (D) – Deichbrand Festival
  • 31.07.2012 München (D) – Free & Easy
  • 01.08.2012 WACKEN OPEN AIR
  • 02.08.2012 WACKEN OPEN AIR
  • 03.08.2012 WACKEN OPEN AIR
  • 04.08.2012 WACKEN OPEN AIR
  • 09.08.2012 Eschwege (D) – Open Flair
  • 10.08.2012 Eidhoven (NL) – Folkwoods Festival
  • 11.08.2012 Tübingen (D) – 3k Festival
  • 12.08.2012 Rothenburg o.d. Tauber (D) – Taubertal Festival
  • 14.12.2012 Stuttgart (D) – Kleine Schleyerhalle
  • 15.12.2012 München (D) – Tonhalle
  • 16.12.2012 Pratteln (CH) – Z7
  • 21.12.2012 Dresden (D) – Alter Schlachthof
  • 22.12.2012 Gießen (D) – Hessenhallen
  • 26.12.2012 Bochum (D) – Ruhrkongress
  • 27.12.2012 Fürth (D) – Stadthalle
  • 28.12.2012 Bielefeld (D) – Ringlokschuppen
  • 29.12.2012 Bremen (D) – Pier 2
  • 30.12.2012 Potsdam (D) – Metropolishalle


Photo (Russian Voodoo): Petra Meisel
Photo (Band): Niki Witoszynskyj