Mziuri - Lampionebi

Sometimes a discovery blows me away for reasons beyond just the music. As a History student with a fascination for Soviet culture and lifestyle, to stumble upon Mziuri was special for me. Mziuri (or Мзиури) were a Georgian pop group made up of pre-teen schoolgirls, handpicked to guarantee only the 'best of the best' for the band's formation. They wore matching outfits - often including neckties - and performed dozens of concerts a year in front of astonished audiences of adults. A massive success in the USSR and Soviet-occupied Georgia, they won the Lenin Komsomol Prize in 1976: a yearly award for Soviet youth in various fields. A breakdown of the name is telling, with Komsomol being an abbreviation of 'Communist Union of Youth' and with Lenin being, well, of course... being Lenin. Surprisingly, only a few of the band's members really 'made it' in music, namely Maia Jabua, the fresh-faced lead singer of the video embedded above. The song, Lampionebi, was released in various versions, but the clip I've included is from sometime around 1974-5. A cleaner, organ-driven version is available to hear here. I personally prefer the fuzzier, guitar-led version, whose poor video quality adds to the distortion and texture of the track.

Label: n/a 
Year: 1974-5
Genre: Pop, Easy-Listening, Russian Rock

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