Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vilnius calling

Blog-friend JES, in the last of his regular Friday lucky bag posts of literary and other oddities, included a video of a band called Freaks On Floor (I would have preferred a definite article in there, but what can you do?), a pleasant-sounding indie pop trio from Lithuania.

It's part of a project called Vilnius Temperature, in which young film-maker Saunias Baradinskas seeks to showcase his local music scene. Various bands, mostly of a rather more jazzy or folky feel, and often quite quirkily 'experimental', perform one of their songs - seemingly in one take - in the open air, at various seasons of the year (the resulting video being tagged with the temperature at the time). Baradinskas spoke about the idea at a TedX event in Vilnius last year.

I couldn't help but suspect that JES might have made this selection at least partly to taunt me, since I have revealed on here once or twice that - after conducting some online research - Vilnius is my leading fantasy relocation destination.

The vigorous music scene is one of the things I have most enjoyed in my time in Beijing, and I would hope to have similar opportunities to enjoy plenty of good live gigs wherever I move to next. Vilnius is looking quite promising on that front.

I haven't had time to work through all of the Vilnius Temperature videos yet (over 30 of them on YouTube now), but so far this - by a band called Garbonitas Bosistas - is the performance, and the video, that I think I like best.

However, this, a song called Energy by the rather more commercial Saulės Kliošas, a jazz outfit with an upbeat, R'n'B flavour about them, is a very close second. Their lead singer, Justė Starinskaitė, is really rather stunning. Although, I'm told, by the standards prevailing in the Baltic Republics, she is only averagely beautiful - which could be another reason to move there. Or a reason to keep well away...

I have endeavoured to find out what these band names mean, but Lithuanian-English translation tools online all seem baffled by them (except that Saulės would seem to mean 'sun' or 'sunny'). Is Lithuanian an unusually tricky language? Or do Lithuanian musicians all favour nonsense words for their band names?


JES said...

Ack -- busted!

I sometimes think of you not just as a British ex-pat (or formerly so), but as a surrogate for those of us (maybe just us guys) who are, at least for now, nailed to our geography.

Only fair to mention, though, that I'd never considered Lithuania (Vilnius or otherwise) as a destination until you mentioned it some time ago, long before your perhaps permanent break with China.

Oh, and you'd also put me onto that international writing contest; I submitted a story to them. According to an email I got a couple of months ago, they received around 1600 entries from around the world, about one-sixth of which were selected as "semi-finalists." They told me I was in that quasi-elite second rank, to whom they offered a 20% discount on conference fees. If I'd flat-out won -- top prize including transportation and accommodations -- I'd possibly be in Vilnius this summer. While waiting to hear, though, I let myself imagine Vilnius, so to speak. It seemed quite nice.

Froog said...

Oh well, congratulations - pretty sweet to make the short-list!

I'd be tempted to offer a sliding scale of discounts to competition entrants, but keep the basis of it secret. That way, if you find yourself being offered the trip at 20% or 25% off, you might still think it's a bit too expensive, but if you're flattered by the thought this may imply you were possibly in the top 100 or the top 50, your vanity might impel you to splurge your money anyway.

Well, not your vanity, obviously. But you know what I mean. I think that could be such a devastatingly efficacious marketing ploy that... it's probably unethical.

John said...

The Internet detective (patent pending) strikes again! Google's translation service (also built into their Chrome browser) includes Lithuanian but perhaps you already tried this as if they're correct Garbonitas is a typo. Garbanotas Bosistas however loosely translates as "Curly Bassist".

Froog said...

Is that 'curly' implying 'curly-haired', or 'windy and circuitous' in their playing? (Check out my recent post on The Barstool on 'Hoopy' Basslines.)

I did try Google Translate on both band names (and a few others from the Temperature project), but didn't get any answers on any of them. Strange.

It is a constantly evolving resource, of course. Perhaps lots of people have been investigating Lithuania online recently - because of the football, maybe??