“LA MINOR” by Ivan Delazari

La MinorLA MINOR is a music band based in St. Petersburg, Russia. They don’t write their own songs, but skilfully arrange and play Russian “urban songs”/”chanson”/”blatnaia pesnia” embedded in the vernacular culture and most often associated with crime, prison and alcohol. Sometimes those are anonymous songs, at other times popular tunes from the last 100 years that have long lost links to their original composers. These are now almost like folk songs best known and performed by “common people” on some social occasions, primarily drinking ones. Crime and alcohol are paired with most sentimental and immature notions of unhappy romantic love, suffering and adventures many horrible criminals and social outcasts carry “in their souls” throughout their lives.

The band is mostly popular in Central Europe, particularly Germany, so you will find their Wikipedia page in German. They are on YouTube, too.

I translated a whole CD of theirs for its booklet, to be sold on their 2013 European tour. Below is “Photo of You”, in my translation (intended to be read along as you listen to the track):

PHOTO OF YOU

If I am destined to suddenly
Drown in a sea deep and blue
I will remember to certainly
Glance at my photo of you

Stretching my hands very tenderly
Even though numbed by the cold
Towards your image so beautiful
Down to the bottom I’ll go

Sea depths are quite unfathomable
Going on down for miles
I’ll be just watching the tipsy moon
Stagger across the black skies

Next I’ll be lying in piling rocks
At the dark bottom of the sea
That’s what my vagrant life’s all about
That’s where it was taking me

Deep down there I’ll have lost everything
There are no dreams in the dark
The hand that held on to the photo of you
Has been torn out by a shark

If I am destined to suddenly
Drown in a sea deep and blue
I will remember to certainly
Glance at my photo of you

La Minor members

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IvanIvan Delazari is a PhD Fellow at the Department of English. [Click here to read all entries by Ivan.]

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