For my Russian readers, the name Zemfira is a most likely a name with which they are quite familiar with. For those who are not so lucky, I shall have to rectify this.
Zemfira and her band have been together since 1998 where their talent was immediately noticed and their popularity quickly grew. After being picked up by a label out of Moscow who pushed to have their music and videos played everywhere possible, the band soon saw found a loyal following right from the start. For those who have listened to them, it is not hard to see why.
Most bands, when you listen to them, it is often not hard to pick out just when they made their music. Since no one makes music in a vacuum, influences of the times seep into the music. But every so often you can come across a group who stands out as being more than a decade. Instead they take what they like no matter when or where it may have come from, fusing together styles and eras. Zemfira not only does this, but is a master of it. Zemfira's main musical passion is rock and has been since her brother introduced it to her. While other styles abound within her music, her rock influences are always there in some way or another. Now this isn't the modern rock sound that is far too often forgettable. But ranges from easily discernible influences such as The Beatles and Black Sabbath amongst many others to more localized rock bands to whatever interests her at the moment. Each song is different yet there is a feel that is distinctly Zemfira to each one.
I encountered her music by chance, I had never heard of her but the potential for a new discovery is always worth the listen. I have a love of music in various languages as it is, so her singing in her native Russian only enhanced the sound for me. The variety and musical talent of her and her band is what hooked me. I was able to track down a copy of her album Spasibo (Thank You) from 2007. This album is still one of my favorites. It ranges from energetic and fun to emotional and moving and just about everywhere else. There seems to be little Zemfira cannot invoke.
But I could wax on eternal and you would still have little knowledge of Zemfira's sound. So I have tracked down a few songs via youtube. All songs are from the album Spasibo as I am best able to chose from those that I have (and because attempting to track down videos whose text is either in Romanized Russian or, even harder, in Cyrillic type is difficult if you don't know you are looking for).
First is V Metro. This was the first song I heard by Zemfira and I immediately loved the feel. The influences are across the board here so it would just be best to listen.
I wanted to include an embedded copy of Voskresen'e, but the only version I could find that wasn't a low quality live version has disallowed embedding. So you will have to follow the link to hear it, which I advice you do, unless you don't want to hear what brings to mind a Russian, female fronted version of late era Beatles.
And finally, a proper video. This is the original music video for the song My Razbivaemsya. It can be described, simply, as beautiful. Piano and strings get me every time.