It's always a treat to be able to play in your home town. And that's just what I did this week together with the Men Overboard maritime folk music trio. A huge "thank you!" goes out to Igor Gurbatov, manager of a new pub Gastrobar "Odnogo Uma Malo"* for the invite to come and share some old and new maritime folk music with folks in our adopted home port. Igor is a shanty singer himself, and in the video below he joins the Men singing the classic timber loading shanty Donkey Riding.
What's brewing in Russia?
It's still a well-kept secret that Russia and Saint-Petersburg are fast becoming a center for craft brewing. That shouldn't be surprising, as the country produces everything needful. Gastrobar "Odnogo Uma Malo", where we played this show, has a huge selection of excellent domestic craft beers and ciders, and some world-class "pub grub" to go with them. After our show I had an absolutely astonishing coffee stout that can hold its own with any brew I've ever had anywhere.
This gastrobar is one of the many outlets for Russian craft brews that have been springing up here in Saint-Petersburg like forest mushrooms after rain. In the early days of my sojourn here, the local pub scene was pretty limited and dismal with a few exceptions, mostly Irish pub "wanna-bes". But that's no longer the case.
With over 30 domestic craft brews on tap, our gastrobar host for this wintry evening is a good place for visitors to sample the Russian craft beers. It's a short walk down Furshtadskaya street from the Chernyshevskaya metro station, in a district that's home to a number of foreign consulates. In fact, it's just hard by the German consulate... a fact that I expect Germany's diplomats greatly appreciate! Certainly I and my shipmates of the Men Overboard trio appreciated the chance to play for a hometown audience - and to sample a bit of what's brewing in Russia.
* "Odnogo Uma Malo", pronounced "odnovo ooma mala", translates roughly as "One mind is not enough", but it has additional significance for Russians that I don't quite follow even after attempts at explanation. Some things are just "lost in translation".
Photo courtesy of Gastrobar "Odnogo Uma Malo"