Awkward Olympics music: Tatar cover of Queen's "We Are The Champions"

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46 Responses to “Awkward Olympics music: Tatar cover of Queen's "We Are The Champions"”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope I’m not the only person who actually really enjoyed that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I know there are words in the English lexicon that would describe how I feel about this, but I don’t know how to fit them together. Some include: anxiety, joy, humility, mildly approriate. Either way, I agree, way better than what Celine could deliver.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When they disperse it looks like they are freezing cold, which could also explain the wooden performance. The ladies don’t even get hats!

  4. Xopher says:

    Hail Xenu! *bows down*

    Hi, Xeni! *waves*

    Fine distinction, but very real.

  5. Anonymous says:

    did this remind anyone else of the song the ewoks sing at the end of Return of the Jedi?

  6. mgfarrelly says:

    I think it’s glorious. Freddie Mercury would right there with them in costume.

    A far more intense version of the same song from an Asian group (Mongolian?) ALSO at the Vancouver Games.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NxuiWNTHUk&feature=player_embedded

  7. danwarning says:

    My favorite part of the video is the triumphant far-away look the bassist gets at the end after the last chord, he holds it- and then they all go walking off like, “enough horsing around, there’s shit to do.”

  8. mrparallel says:

    Guy Maddin’s “The Saddest Music in the World” just lost about 37% of its surrealism.

  9. Alan says:

    What did I do without YouTube the first 40 years of my life?

  10. jacques45 says:

    @1: It appears to be Yakut, which is the Turkic folk from far western Russia.

  11. JayConverse says:

    And they had a jew’s harp! Take that, ukelele zealots!!

  12. lewis stoole says:

    Channel “Russia 24″ embodied in the life of an unusual idea: hit rock band Queen quail languages of the various regions of Russia to support our athletes going to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver to fight for the medals. Is there something of the ancient rites of divination – of the peoples of the country, eager and worthy of Olympic victories, merges together to help our athletes. Song recorded the best folk groups in Mordovia, Altai, Tatarstan, Yakutia, Karelia and Bashkortostan.

    http://community.livejournal.com/rossiyatv/

  13. lewis stoole says:

    i have to say, after watching 10 or so of these videos, it is very surreal to see such an iconic rock anthem performed in various folk themed interpretations, especially from cultures not on my immediate radar. russia must have a rich and diverse ethnic background.

    • girl mark says:

      yeah, thanks to Russian colonialism and empire-building under the tsars and later under Soviet rule, and it’s conquest of vast tracts of non-Russian territory, there are a HUGE number of ethnicities and language groups under it’s borders today. I can’t remember the numbers but actively spoken languages number in the hundreds I seem to recall.

      The history of Russia’s expansion into Siberia and elsewhere in Asia was very similar to the US conquest of Native Americans, although I think disease played a different role than in the Americas, because some of the diseases that wiped out Native Americans had originated in Central Asia, and there weren’t quite the same novel bugs that decimated Indians here in the US.

      In the Soviet era, there were varying policies for how to deal with cultural heterogeneity. At times traditional cultural expression was forbidden, people were forcibly relocated, several genocidal “artificial famine” situations were created (this is all early Stalin-era stuff), there were huge campaigns to stamp out the practices of shamanism and to forcibly settle nomadic peoples.

      Much of it is similar to what happened in the US during the various Indian Wars and during the Native American ‘indian boarding school era’, only it occurred a few decades later and with greater brutality under the Soviets.

      At other times, usually due to some need for political support, there was more of a ‘thawing’ towards native religious and cultural expression, which allowed some ethnicities’ cultural practices to survive to the present day.

      And then, on top of truly traditional cultural practices, there also existed a plethora of state-funded folk music and dance groups that performed highly orchestrated and sometimes Westernized forms of ‘folk music’ (hence, Tatars with balalaikas and violins).

  14. Anonymous says:

    I like Celine Dion’s version; it’s so obvious in here version she thinks she’s singing about mushrooms.

  15. Xopher says:

    Freddy Mercury was Asian, you know. His birth name was Farrokh Bulsara; his parents were Parsis and practiced Zoroastrianism. He was born on Zanzibar and educated near Mumbai.

    I think he would have been amazed and delighted by the concept of this video, and a little appalled by the (IMO) lifeless performance.

  16. freshacconci says:

    I’m confused. As a proud Canadian, I’ve been ignoring the Olympics. Why are these various ethnic groups singing “We Are The Champions”? Why a song from a campy British band? I mean, shouldn’t it have been “Takin’ Care of Business”? Or “Tom Sawyer”?

  17. toolbag says:

    Sadly, I think cartoons have ruined the sound of the mouth harp for me. Literally as I was listening to that I was clicking through windows trying to figure out if I had a game running or if there was a flash popup causing that “springy” sound. Other than that I though it was top notch neato!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I heard someone say “beat Celine Dion”. Am I too late? Did I miss it?

  19. pidg says:

    Not sure what’s awkward about it? Is it because they aren’t American, Xeni?

    Would be interested to know

  20. blueelm says:

    I have to admit I love the balalaika with a passion usually reserved on this blog for ukulele.

    These are cheesy but I can’t help but like them (or rather the multiple Queen versions).

  21. elleomnom says:

    Better than Robbie Williams!

  22. Jonathan Badger says:

    These are mighty Tatars, for crying out loud, little Xeni. Members of the Golden Horde. One does not criticize the warriors of the Khan lightly.

  23. regeya says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought it was lovely. You know, ‘Xeni’ is awfully close to ‘Xeno’, the prefix of ‘xenophobia’…

  24. Machineintheghost says:

    The awkward part isn’t that they’re from Tatarstan, it’s that they’re a cheesy Soviet-style Official Nationality Musical Ensemble, in Folk Costume, no less. I would love to see a Verka Serduchka (Ukraine, not Tatarstan) cover of … pretty much anything.

  25. naufragio says:

    OK, now somebody mash up all the different versions.

  26. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    You know, ‘Xeni’ is awfully close to ‘Xeno’, the prefix of ‘xenophobia’”

    Xeni is xeniphobic? Self-hatred is a terribly sad thing.

  27. naufragio says:

    Also: this is what Eurovision should look like.

  28. vettekaas says:

    I got goosebumps

  29. Xopher says:

    Oh, puh-leeeeeze, people! The performance is lame and without energy. When they disperse at the end they look like they just want to get out of the costumes and go home as fast as possible.

    It’s a pretty awkward juxtaposition, FM’s Asianness (Asianity?) notwithstanding. I mean, a balalaika? Jesusmaria,* as my grandmother would say.
    ____
    *That’s pronounced YEZHushMAHdiyaH. Czech, or Bohemian as Gran always insisted it be called.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The best part is when they all run away chaotically at the end.

  31. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Is folksong, no?

  32. Anonymous says:

    I’ll agree this performance is awkward if it turns out no royalties were paid and no R*AA’s appeased with money and first-borns. That would be a bit of a tough nut for the committee.

    Otherwise… go exotic national dress cover shows!

  33. girl mark says:

    Once more, with throat singers:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec1PMRs0e_c&feature=related
    The Altai version.

    There’s a huge array of these videos on YouTube, all various Central Asian folks (also, Moldova and Karelians and a few other nationalities) doing pieces of this song. Amazing. There must have been some kind of contest- I had no idea this many of these soviet-style folks ensembles still did this.

    Don’t like balalaika in your Folk Ensemble? Here’s some passionate Yakuts with a particularly sfi-fi-looking ice cave stage:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NxuiWNTHUk&feature=player_embedded

    Once more with Karelians:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajXkx-OrABc

    and again with the headgear of Mordovians:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jki5xQ_eaDU&feature=related

    now with end-blown flute and particularly emotive Bashkirs:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4hvOLwKB6w&feature=related

  34. Anonymous says:

    KD Lang’s rendition of Hallelujah was an… interesting choice as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmzLvC49D3I

  35. Anonymous says:

    Two more from this series of We Are the Champions covers from Russian TV:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec1PMRs0e_c
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6sw8rc-UL0

  36. Antinous / Moderator says:

    The Tatar boys have the best hats. The tall Tuvan guy in the middle has the best robes. The Yakut really nail the song.

    Western culture is anemic. We need to up our costume game and trade in some of those guitars for contrabass balalaikas.

    • girl mark says:

      Sheesh- Tatars? Did you LOOK at the hats on the Mordovian ladies? (sorry, not Moldovans either, my bad). The Tatars have nothing on that!

  37. Anonymous says:

    This genuinely filled me with an inexplicable sense of joy. I did’t expect that. Actually, I’m currently living in Russia (siberia to be specific). If those people were in canada to film that, they weren’t necessarily cold, being that samara is colder than vancouver. If they were in Russia, they probably were

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