Lera, 15 was sporting a Yankees winter hat as she walked on a coldy, sunny day with her friend Nastya along a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Moscow River. A highschool student, Lera said she "loves to draw everything", a hobby she said both her parents enjoy as well. She said she may pursue design in university.
Anastasia was walking through the center of Minsk in nearly all black, including Gothic-styled boots. I expected her to talk about an interest in some obscure hard rock genre. Instead, she passionately talked about her interest in recreating 15th century German life with a club she joined a few years back on the recommendation of a now ex-boyfriend. She said her group consists of about 30 people, nearly split 50-50 between men and women. She said they take part in Middle-Age festivals around Belarus and neighboring countries. I asked what attracts women like herself to such clubs. "It's romantic - knights, beautiful dresses, music. You leave all your problems behind. It's an unforgetable experience." The red 'scarf' she is wearing is a Middle-Age replica she made.
Artyom & Denis perform chillout and ambient music outside their regular jobs. Artyom said he started experimenting with music while attending a military school and played trance for a while. I asked how he got into these other music genres. "I was resting with a friend by a river early one morning outside Minsk, when we heard ambient music and it inspired us."
Evgeniya and her boyfriend Vanya (left) were visiting the friend (right) who initially intoduced them. Evgenia said she is going to be a baker like her grandmother. She fondly recalled visiting her grandmother at work for first time at the age of 8. Her grandmother let her play with the dough. I asked Evgenia what her favorite pastery is. 'Eclair - it's the hardest to make, but it is the most delicious.'
Vladimir, 63, was playing in front of the Minsk food market on a cold, sunny December weekend. He said he retired from the state orchestra and occasionally plays at some private events, but prefers playing what he likes on the streets. He said he worked once as a musician on a US cruiseliner, a job his son found for him. Vladimir said he even played on the streets of NYC, once taking his trumpet to Chinatown, where he played a few hours. He said he prefers classical and Russian music though to American Jazz. "Russia has a lot of soulful music."