10 contemporary musicians publish tribute album to Russian poet Anna Akhmatova

10 contemporary musicians publish tribute album to Russian poet Anna Akhmatova
Anna Akhmatova in 1921. Image: M.Nappelbaum via Wikimedia

30 March 2021

A tribute music album celebrating Russian Silver Age poet Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966) has been released marking the 55th anniversary of her death.

Produced by Russian social media VKontakte, I Am Your Voice features 10 female musicians who composed songs using the poet’s verse as lyrics. The title is a reference to the first words of the poem Many, written by Akhmatova in 1922.

The artists involved come from different musical backgrounds, ranging from pop acts such as Belarusian band IOWA, Polina Gagarina, who represented Russia at Eurovision in 2015, and Serebro trio singer Elena Temnikova, to electronic indie artist Tosya Chaikina, singer-songwriter Zhenya Lubich, Georgian-born hip hop artist ANIKV, indie pop artist polnalyubvi, Norwegian-Russian singer Erika Lundmoen, and Russian poet Ah Astakhova. Each of these singers say they have been deeply influenced by the poet, VKontakte said, explaining the choice of artists.

“With this project, the poet ‘speaks’ through the voices of modern performers, and her work reaches an audience through the prism of our era, living on to this day,” Aleksandra Bostan, a creative producer at VKontakte who is one of the faces behind the project, commented.

With her brilliant debut collection Vecher (or Evening) in 1912, Akhmatova’s work spans the first half of the 20th century, putting into words the individual plight and collective trauma of several generations of Russians. The early years of Soviet repressions saw her son arrested on several occasions, and her first husband, Nikolay Gumilyov, executed in 1921. Deemed “bourgeois” for her introspective poetry, Akhmatova was unable to publish her poems between 1923 and 1940. She remains one of the most admired Russian poets of all times, and 5 March, the anniversary of her death, is Akhmatova memorial day in Russia.

The album was released in partnership with label Pervoe muzikalnoe, makeup artist Marina Roy and photographer Xenie Zasetskaya, and is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, Deezer, and Yandex.Music until 2 April. Listen to it here.

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