How did we get through this challenging and unusual 2020? It turns out that despite all the pandemic prohibitions and restrictions, our band has had an exceptionally busy and eventful year! Let’s look back and remember the most important events of 2020 …
January 18, “Mir 24” TV channel premiered a documentary “Doroga 101” (“Road 101”) devoted to the siege of Leningrad. Svetlana took part in it as a narrator and a voiceover This project was fully appreciated and was nominated as “The best TV documentary” at “Pobedili Vmeste” (“We Won Together”), the XVI International Festival in Sevastopol. Maria Smelkova, the producer, reached the final of “TEFI-REGION-2020”, All-Russian Television Contest.
January 31, we released the first robin of our future album – a single “Reka” (“The River”) Fate of the song was great – it hit the top of the charts and for half a year it was in the charts of “Chartova Duzhina”. At the end of 2020, NASHE radio ranked our “Reka” (“The River”) 8th in the final chart!
This month began with a unique event: Svetlana Surganova’s autobiographical book “Vse Snachala” (“All over again”) was published! First, readers got acquainted with the digital version of the book, and several months later, in autumn, it was published in print. On the website of EKSMO publishing house, Svetlana’s book was ranked first of September novelties – and soon we had to order a re-print!
February became the most touring month of the past year for us! Our band managed to give as many as 10 concerts in the cities of the Moscow Region and Central Russia, not even suspecting that very soon we would have to say goodbye to the live audience for a long time.
On March 3d it was announced that Svetlana Surganova became a member of the jury of “Electronnaya Bukva” (“Electronic Letter”) Literary Award, and it was a wonderful adventure for her! The time freed up due to the absence of touring concerts, Svetlana devoted to works of many completely new, previously unknown modern writers, in order to announce the best writers of the past year at the Grand Online Ceremony on December 22.
March 13, 2020, Bryansk. Photo by Igor Redkin
However, the March was still quite a traditional month as far as it concerned live performances, the tour of “Surganova and the Orchestra” went on, we managed to visit 8 more cities in Russia…
Only this month Russia joined the worldwide quarantine. The postponements of concerts were still announced carefully: 1-2 months ahead, for the summer … With great regret we realized that we would have to give up not only touring distant cities, but also traditional metropolitan “pair” concerts for the band’s birthday. It was time to get used to online.
Our first two online events took place at the end of the month: on April 25th it was “Pesni Pobedy” (“The Victory Songs”) concert at the studio of “Moskva 24” TV channel. And on April 26th, the birthday of “Surganova and the Orchestra”, it was the debut broadcast from the still unfinished art space “PushkinRyadom”: an acoustic jam session, were we and our friends musicians performed.
No doubt, the main event of May was celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. For Svetlana Surganova, daughter and granddaughter of the survivors of the blockade, this holiday has always been very intimate and the most important, therefore she participated in a wide range of the celebration concerts and broadcasts.
We could mention “Pesni Pobedy” (“Songs of Victory”) concert at OKKO, “Kvartirnik u Margulisa (“Jam Session at Margulis’”) at NTV channel, “Muzyka Pobedy” (“Music of Victory”) at “Saint Petersburg” TV Company, the international project “Music of the World” … and this is not a complete list of the celebration events and concerts.
It was sad to perform without our usual lively and hot audience. We had to get used to remote work together with the whole country and the whole world. On May 17th “Surganova and the Orchestra” took part in the VK-Fest “Luchshe Doma” (“Better at Home”). The band performed its set against the background of the most beautiful panorama of Saint Petersburg. On May 24th, Josef Brodsky’s birthday, Svetlana performed an acoustic version of the song “Neuzheli Ne Ya” (“Is It Not Me”) for the online festival “Ne Vykhodi iz Komnaty” (“Don’t Leave the Room”) devoted to the 80th anniversary of the poet.
In the first summer month we continued to settle down at “PushkinRyadom” art space. Two charity online marathons took place there, on June 1st and 30th, with the participation of Svetlana Surganova, her friends and classical musicians.
June 30, 2020. Charity marathon at “PushkinRyadom” art space. Photo by Natalya Kalinichenko.
On June 27th “Surganova and the Orchestra” performed at the legendary festival for school graduates “Alye Parusa” (“Scarlet Sails”) in Saint Petersburg. The city authorities decided that despite the pandemic, schoolchildren cannot be left without their main holiday – even if it was online. The musicians performed on an open-air stage-ship specially mounted on Krestovsky Island. The concert was broadcast by the Saint Petersburg’s “Channel Five”.
Midsummer passed without performances. All the musicians and technicians of the band concentrated on studio work – we were recording for the future album … At the same time, we were figuring out what was missing in our new studio, what should have been brought to perfection.
This month was a breakthrough for the musicians and audience, all hungry for live performances! After a long break first mass events were allowed in some regions, of course, with observance of social distance measures. We were happy to take this opportunity to meet our beloved audience!
On August 8th we performed at “Nastroenie” (“The Spirit”) festival at the “Khutor Yolki” resort in Karelia. On August 29th at the city festival “Korushka Idet!” (“The smelt is Coming!”) in Novaya Ladoga.
Autumn 2020 was marked by crowd funding. For the first time ever, we decided to ask our fans to support us in raising funds for the release of a new album. This first our project on “Planeta” site turned out to be extremely successful: only in a day and a half after the start, we raised more than 1 million rubles!
The fund raise lasted three months, and gathered was the amount of almost 3 million rubles. We sincerely thank everyone who contributed! The album is coming soon. And soon each contributor will receive the promised lots!
Finally, the time came for the metropolitan concerts! The program of the April concerts was given at “Lensovet” Palace of Culture on October 1st and at Moscow “Crocus” on October 10th. The band’s birthday had never been so long-awaited and the performance so inspiring! Flowers, flash mobs, applause – we felt gratitude and appreciation in a completely new way!
October 10, 2020, Moscow, Crocus, “Surganova and the Orchestra” birthday. Photo by Maria Pospelova.
Another significant event of October took place in Arkhangelsk. Veniamin Smekhov’s play “Pushkin” was triumphantly shown on the theatre stage. Svetlana Surganova was among actors. The spectacle was shown only once before that date, at the end of 2019 at Saint Petersburg Philharmonic.
October 27, 2020, Arkhangelsk, “Puskin” play. Photo by Natalya Kalinichenko.
Again “Pushkin”! Again a full house! This time in the small Karelian town of Kostomuksha. Tickets for the performance at the local cultural center were sold out just a few hours after they appeared! We hope that in better times of no more restrictions on cultural events we will join a tour with it in the cities of Russia!
And on one of the last autumn days, November 27th, “Surganova and the Orchestra” presented one more song from the forthcoming album. It was “Liven Osenniy” (“Autumn Shower”) to the verses of Juan Ramon Jimenez, the classic of Spanish poetry.
Winter began with another very long-awaited and joyful event: the grand official opening of “PushkinRyadom” art space with presence of an extremely small audience and in accordance with the requirements for social distance. The violin and the piano, acoustic songs from Svetlana and Valeriy Tkhai and poems from Margarita Bychkova … this was an exceptionally sincere and positive evening! We promise that in the coming year there will be a variety of interesting events at “PushkinRyadom”!
And finally, we got to the finale of this strange and unexpected year … Svetlana would joke: “Do you know why 2020 was so wrong? Because in December 2019 we didn’t play our traditional New Year’s Solyanka Party! ” Well, 2021 has every reason to be “right” and great! Our Moscow and Saint Petersburg Solyanka Parties took place! With great difficulties, postponement of the dates and change of the venues, we still managed to defend and hold these concerts!
December 27, 2020, Saint Petersburg, Lensovet Palace of Culture, New Year’s Solyanka Party. Photo by Natalya Kalinichenko.
On December 25th we met with the Muscovites at “1930 Moscow” club, and on December 27th with the Saint Petersburg public at “Lensovet” Palace of Culture! Despite the need to observe the restrictions – do not get up from seats, do not approach the stage, etc. – everything went cheerfully, energetically, in a New Year’s way! And we really hope that these concerts will really become a good omen, which will give a boost of wealth and health for the whole next year!