From DJ and journalist Andra Amber Nikolayi, the Eastbloc Dispatches podcast is your pass to all the culture you could easily miss out on elsewhere, from central, eastern, and southeastern Europe, and various parts of the world recovering from the Soviet Union. And it’s full of terrific conversations.
Now, we can actually run statistics on how much you’re missing from eastern Europe, even with some festivals located in the region (see below). That compounds inequalities of other groups – particularly MENA/WANA countries – to mean that the picture you typically of Europe’s cultural scene is a shadow of the continent’s real diversity. Now, the upshot for lovers of music, culture, and ideas is that you are missing out on all the great talent. And for someone tuned into that talent and the vanguard of the ideas they represent, Andra is a perfect guide.
You can catch up on their far-reaching conversations with a who’s who of artists from across the region in the full list of episodes on Czech platform Radio Punctum:
So for instance, the latest edition catches up with media artist Sophia Bulgakova from Odesa, Ukraine. Sophia is co-host for the MusicMakers Hacklab with CTM Festival this week, too, alongside Darsha Hewitt, so if you’re in Berlin – clear your Sunday evening for a one-of-a-kind performance laboratory. (Having just stopped by their studio, you’ll see some wild creations live.)
This is a perfect way to begin – enter a beautiful space of meditations, a mind exploration:
Speaking of Ukraine, a must-listen is this episode with Maya Baklanova (and with every topic just as relevant almost a year later). That features a terrific playlist alongside the discussion:
Or here’s the amazing Katarina Gryvul, the up-and-coming artist who has dazzled audiences with her deeply emotional live shows:
Some other favorites:
The epic FOQL joined in 2022:
You need to hear Justyna’s music as well as her label; check the 2022 LP for a good starting point:
Want more eastbloc sounds? There’s the wonderful antifascist mixtape by AGF for our friends over at Eastbloc Antifascist Sound Alliance, which could be just the radical energy your afternoon needs, plus an interview with Amber for their show.
Oramics, by the way, ran stats on this, and even after the visibility of this report, European bookings continues to be heavily skewed away from Eastern European artists, often to the point of near-total exclusion. (Oramics’ data collection is a nice echo of the work female:pressure is doing, and there’s still way more to do there, as well.)
And for still more of Eastern and marginalized Europe in your ears, check Oramics “Your Periphery Is My Center,” as they’re fellow residents at Refuge Worldwide.
That show doesn’t have its own show page, but you can get slightly more interesting results by adding “periphery” to the query anyway:
Here’s a great place to start – head to Slovakia with my good friends Nina Pixel and Matwe!
That should keep you busy a while. Enjoy!