Goryun Molody (Young Sorrowful Boy)

Sung by Anna Akimova in Arkhangelsk, Russia in 2018. I met Anna when I traveled to Arkhangelsk in 2017 to begin research for this project. She is a fantastic jazz singer who teaches voice at the Arkhangelsk College of Music. (Arkhangelsk has a thriving Jazz scene and boasts two international Jazz festivals.) She helped organize the Master Class I taught there on Appalachian folk music. After the class, a dozen or so students went back to Anna’s teaching studio where we shared tea and chocolates, and gathered around the piano sharing songs and stories with each other. With this smaller group, we worked up a few Appalachian folk songs to perform at a concert later that week. In addition to this group performance, Anna and I both sang sets of our original music. Coincidentally, I had written a song about an arctic weatherman in my 2016 release Because Become. One evening while drinking tea with Anna, she asked me about the song, and I told her it was about a man who I thought might be Russian. We looked him up and found out that he is actually from Arkhangelsk! Anna translated the lyrics into Russian, and she and I sang the song together in both languages. It was a truly magical evening. Anna has a Jazz fusion group called WonRedful Town. You can find her music here on Bandcamp. Although Anna and her band play mostly original jazz fusion compositions, she graciously shared several traditional folk songs with me. I chose to quilt Goryun Molodoy, a folk song from the southern region of Belgorod arranged by her accordion player that tells the tale of a young drunk monk. It was a joy to spend so much time with this song.

This Song Quilt is a transcription of Goryun Molodoy, as it was sung by Anna. I was unable to capture the joyful guttural utterances of her fellow musicians, but I hope I managed to capture some of that spirit with these bold mountain colors. In the 10th and 11th row of the quilt you can see where Anna modulated the melody up a whole step, thus shifting the colors up a step as well. I love how this quilt captures this movement.  I had the backing fabric shipped from Ivanovo Russia, a center of textile production. The print is a Khokhloma pattern (Khokloma is a wood painting handcraft style) The quilting design is inspired by a weaving pattern that is typical of the Belgorod region.

Translation by Olga and Lusi Klimenko

VIDEO : Anna Akimova, with Yuri Kazarin (accordion) and Alexey Pitalov (guitar)

Students from the Arkhangelsk College of Music, who performed several traditional Appalachian folk songs with me at a local venue.

Anna Akimova and Alexey Pitalov of WonREdful Town.

The traditional dress of the Belgorod region. Note the gorgeous weaving details in the shoulders.

Anna Akimova and me at our performance at La Terrasa in Arkhangelsk. 2017

To listen to more of Anna’s music, visit the Bandcamp page for her band WonREDful Town.

An example of the weaving pattern that inspired my quilting design.

Ivanovo fabric with a Khokhloma pattern, and detail of the quilting inspired by Belgorod weaving.