Various Artists – Groove Of ESSR: Funk, Disco, Jazz From Soviet Estonia 1974-1988 (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 00:41:23 minutes | 832 MB | Genre: Disco, Funk, Jazz-Funk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Funk Embassy Records
Groovier side of the Iron Curtain is uncovered via the 11-track compilation out on 12″ vinyl, CD and digitally. First of its kind for Funk Embassy Records, the compilers have dug the archives of Estonian Radio for funk, soul-jazz, disco, instrumentals, library music and covers. Influences from West made it to Soviet Estrada musicians on one hand; to rock, jazz, folk and fusion artists on the other. Recorded between 1974-1988, this is the sound of Estonian artists as heard at music halls, stadiums, radio, TV shows and cafeterias.
Selection ranges from folk-funk, psychedelic soul, dancefloor certified disco, Isaac Hayes reminiscent blues-funk, contemplative jazz-funk, Piero Umiliani-esque library music, funk-rock, in-your-face b-boy break to a flute-led master piece by Uno Naissoo – one of the founders of the Estonian jazz scene who organized the notorious Tallinn Jazz Festivals (1949-1967).
Some of the tracks were unreleased – instrumental versions by the Estonian TV and Radio Estrada Orchestra “Kesköösamba” (1977); and “Mälestuste Teel” (1974, trnl. “On The Road of Memories”) carried by a sentiment that predicts composer Raivo Tammik’s escape to Germany a year later; a cover of Carita Holmström, “Näed vaid oma silmi” with the former Soviet child star Tiiu Varik belting her unique-timbred guts out. Other tracks are local classics, and some have seen the light of day before, be it cassettes, compilation CDs or repressed vinyls.
Inspired by the resurgence of the spirit of Funk around the globe, the compilers have taken the intention to give a taste of Estonian music in the bygone Soviet era during which the government attempted to control the artists and music being made. Nevertheless, a lot of influences made it through, as Estonia was the westernmost country in the USSR. By all means, the selection isn’t all-encompassing. It’s just resonating with represses coming from all over the world that exhibit music with an exotically local touch.
The compilation released on vinyl, CD and digitally will be the first of its kind for the Estonian bred imprint Funk Embassy Records which focuses on releasing both archival findings as well as contemporary funk, soul, disco music. Since 2016 a. Estonian Funk Embassy has been active as a radio show, concert promoter, DJ-party, booking and management agency and now as a record label.
1. Collage – Mets Neidude Vahel (03:36)
2. Marju Kuut – Üksi, kuid vabana (03:15)
3. Tiiu Varik – Näed vaid oma silmi (03:15)
4. Tõnis Mägi & Music Seif – Sa haara kinni mu käest (03:32)
5. Els Himma – Kesköö (02:47)
6. Valter Ojakäär – Rasked veosed (04:02)
7. Uno Naissoo – Marss-ekspromt (02:50)
8. Gunnar Graps & Magnetic Band – Leidmine – Leidmine (03:19)
9. Eesti TV & Raadio Estraadiorkester – Kesköösamba (Instrumental) (04:10)
10. Tarmo & Toomas Urb feat. Vanemõde – Välgud peeglis (Short Version) (05:01)
11. Eesti Raadio Estraadiorkester – Mälestuste teel (Instrumental) (05:42)