Nepmen Music

Murka (1930)
Description: Originating in the Odessa underworld during NEP, Murka was popularized in cafes, and its text re-written many times. The cycle of songs featured a cast including Murka, the Jewish gangster Rabinovich, and the unregulated life of NEP. The romances in the songs always ended in death and tragedy.

Hot Buns (Bublichki) (1928)
Description: Bublichki (Hot Buns, or Bagels) was the most notorious of the underground songs of the NEP era. In stark opposition to the bright visions of communism that the regime was trying to promote, the song wallows in physical and figurative dirt hitting rather too close to home, i.e. the realities of NEP street life. For this it was banned in the USSR until the late 1980’s; but it was passed down by word of mouth for decades, and reached the present in many different forms.

Joseph (1939)
Aleksandr Tsfasman
Description: The great jazzman Tsfasman was known to the Soviet public despite official censure of jazz. This tune was popular before and after the war, and introduced many young Soviets to jazz in the 1950s.

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