21st June, 1962.

Tsoi

An individual that most people outside of the USSR / Warsaw Pact countries are unfamiliar with is born, his music is to set trends and impact Russian culture to the present day. The songs are simple and often about the most obvious of things, such as a ‘Star Known as the Sun’ or a ‘Pack of Cigarettes’, but the lyrics lend themselves to several different interpretations.

This person is a representation of one of many aspects to the USSR completely unknown to the Western world. You see, one thing I have learned while going through the Irish education system is that the way in which the USSR, it’s culture and it’s people are presented is skewered in a disgusting way.

The USSR and it’s people have been painted as mindless drones. In Western propaganda the only thing you’re supposed to think about when the USSR is mentioned is Stalin, Kremlin and tanks.

Yet there’s so much more, there are poets, physicians, artists, doctors, sportsmen and sportsmen, musicians and so much more. It is remarkably ignorant to disregard the people themselves and simply presume as many do.

Viktor Tsoi, a man of Korean descent but Soviet upbringing wrote about many topics and left them all to interpretation.  This song, which roughly translates into either ‘Changes’ or ‘Recess’ was interpreted by some to be a call for social and cultural revolution, while by others and Tsoi himself to be about the fact that recess at school was not long enough…

I grew up with Tsoi around the car in particular. Whenever we were on a drive a Tsoi CD was always close by hand. I never understood what exactly he sang about because the topics are so simple but on deeper reflection I’ve realized his musical performances are like works of art; they are written so that you can make your own interpretation and like the author himself, hold your own truth.

Rest in peace.

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