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Unexpected Reggae Wisdom
From Behind the Iron Curtain
For some, it must have been completely disorienting. For others, a thrill unlike any other. Such were the varied experiences attending an Akvarium concert in the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. Music, like everything else, was heavily censored. But the itch for something new was there, after so many years of Brezhnev-era stagnation. For the underground rock band Akvarium, some of that new found its voice in reggae.
Soviet-era reggae? “Does not compute”, your mind says? It was a rarity, but Akvarium (aka “Aquarium” in English) set out to master the art form with sincerity, while still giving voice to other musical inspirations. Many of their reggae tunes are playful, even nonsensical, but some are imbued with a very deep meaning.
One of these, “It Snowed This Morning”, I have found to be especially inspiring over the years. It speaks of our need for change and the opportunities for it that present themselves each and every day.
For me, one of the more striking messages contained in the text regards the heaviness, confinement, and confusion that arise from being too self-assured and too self-focused. Listening to this song challenges me with the question, “How am I like any of these descriptions?” Regardless of the seriousness of the text, it offers hope that things CAN be different, if we so choose. The bouncy airiness of the music reflects this positivity. For those who care to experience a little of this Soviet-era reggae vibe for yourself, this is for you:
The song itself, like so much of Akvarium’s work, is enigmatic and open for interpretation. I would be curious to hear how “It Snowed This Morning” speaks to you!
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