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All of Russia in the Palm of Your Hand

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All of Russia in the Palm of Your Hand


Audio-theatre “Slovo” is offering foreigners a unique innovation in souvenirs: Russian culture on a microSD or USB. Creators of the “Russian Musical Souvenir” plan to upload a culture-defining snapshot of 111 masterpieces of Russian classical and folk music onto the memory cards. The cards will also include a mini phrasebook in the form of a smartphone app, which will allow tourists to communicate basic requests while enjoying their holiday.

The unique project, conceived by Audio-theatre “Slovo” and sponsored by the Russkiy Mir Foundation, aims to promote Russian classical and folk music culture among foreign tourists. The idea is to combine a musical database of 111 classics of Russian music and a mini phrasebook on one memory card, that can be uploaded onto a smart phone and provide tourists will all they need to discover the unique culture of this great country.

“We want to use the defining technology of the age, our smartphones, to vividly demonstrate the beauty of our culture. We want to show tourists that the souvenirs they take home with them, the symbols of our national heritage, need be not only Russian dolls, fur hats and samovars, but can also be a comprehensive collection of our rich musical heritage. In this way”, says Viktor Trukhan, director of Audio-theatre “Slovo”, “we can promote our classical culture in contemporary world society, helping it to thrive long into the future. This is our task”.

Viktor Trukhan compares the innovative souvenir to its traditional multi-layered and surprise-filled counterpart – the Russian doll. The first layer, or the first doll, contains 56 audio-files of Russian classical works, gathering the greatest geniuses of Russian music, such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Scriabin, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, into one place. The second doll is 55 recordings of Russian folk music, performed by Russia’s greatest singers: Lyudmila Zykina, Feodor Chaliapin, Ivan Rebrov, Ruslanova Lydia, Anna Herman and many other performers from across the ages. The recordings can be listened to or even used as ringtones.

Finally, the last of the dolls of the musical souvenir is a multimedia-format English to Russian phrasebook. The phrasebook will contain the essential words and phrases for a tourist’s holiday in Russia in both written and audio form. The user of the app will be able to write English or, by comparing the letters in front of him with those on his screen, Russian words onto the interface, and then play back the words, find the translations, and store commonly met words for later use. In this way foreigners will be able to use any of their devices, be they  smartphones or tablet computers, to independently use or study the Russian language, not only through reading but also by listening to the pronunciation of the phrases.

“I believe that this kind of musical and communicative application will not only help foreigners discover Russian culture and language, but will also improve Russia’s global image and help integrate our people with those of other cultures”, says Viktor Trukhan. “For this reason the musical souvenir should be distributed as widely as possible”.

The authors of the project hope to distribute their innovative souvenir in as many ways as possible. The majority of the first 7000 prototype microSD and USB memory cards will be delivered to hotels in Moscow, St Petersburg and Yaroslavl. The main condition of the project authors is that the memory cards then be distributed for free. The remaining music souvenirs will then, also for free, be handed out at international expositions held at locations in Moscow such as “Expocentre” and “Crocus-Expo”. The project authors also hope to soon begin supplying souvenir shops all over the country.

In parallel to the dissemination of the souvenir to hotels, exhibitions and shops, there are plans to hand out leaflets and posters with a detailed description of what can be found on the collection, including the composers, performers, and specifications of the Russian-English phrasebook. When the unique souvenir has garnered popularity and devotees, and has established a name for itself on the international tourist market as the must-have guide to Russia, “Slovo” plans to launch the project on a commercial basis throughout the whole of Russia.      


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