good old Soviet times, you simply were not allowed to publicly perform popular songs in a foreign language. That is, not in Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Uzbek and so on. I guess Bulgarian was still OK. Polish was already suspicious. English, of course, a big no no.
So this is what VIAs would do: sing cover versions of well-known Western songs with (usually) Russian lyrics.
Back then, I thought of it as something unique to USSR. How I was mistaken. Now every morning I listen to a Finnish radio station and hear quite a lot of Anglo-American pop and rock sung in Finnish. Maria Gasolina is one of the bands that specialises in this art. And when I say “art”, I mean it.
By their third album, they became truly versatile, expanding their repertoire from mostly Brazilian pop to, well, other “international” pop: from Carimi’s Ayiti bang bang to Femi Kuti’s Beng beng beng. Good taste in choosing the material, great arrangements, and a pleasure to listen to, from beginning to end. Still, my favourite tracks come from Brazil: Nykyaika, Susta huolimatta, Teemalasit... When it gets cold and dark, like now for example (it was snowing this morning!), a ray of Brazilian sunshine is just what the doctor ordered.
In Brazilian Portuguese slang, “Maria gasolina” means a girl who only dates motorists. Why did they choose this expression to name the band? Who knows. Maybe they don’t take themselves too seriously. Or maybe they just like the sound of it.
- Nykyaika / Maracatu atômico (Jorge Mautner / Nelson Jacobina)
- Marcia baila (Catherine Ringer / Frédéric Chichin)
- Voi että / Que pena (Jorge Ben)
- Teemalasit / A Rita (Chico Buarque)
- Länkkärifilmi / Ayiti bang bang (Richard Cave / Mickael Guirand)
- Öisin / تنگ غروبه (Tange ghoroobe) (Dariush)
- Susta huolimatta / Apesar de você (Chico Buarque)
- Vahvaa heikkoutta / Naturträne (Nina Hagen)
- Hellimmin / Carinhoso (Pixinguinha)
- Barikavilyn asemalla / Barikavily (Erick Manana)
- Beng beng beng (Femi Kuti)
- Taneli Bruun: tenor and soprano sax
Kalle Jokinen: guitar
Lissu Lehtimaja: trumpet, vocals
Mikko Neimo: drums
Matti Pekonen: bass
Essi Pelkonen: alto sax
Aarne Riikonen: percussion, sampler
Sanni Verkasalo: flute, clarinet
- Alexandra Babitzin: chorus (2)
Valtteri Nevalainen: vibraphone (3)
Mikko Ojanen: synthesizer (5, 6)
Panu Syrjänen: bass sax (4)
- Finnish lyrics by Lissu Lehtimaja
Arranged by Maria Gasolina except 9 arranged by Ilppo Lukkarinen
Recorded and mixed by Panu Syrjänen, Mikko Ojanen and Taneli Bruun
Produced by Maria Gasolina, Gasolina Records 2010