RED SALUTE: The rousing music of Dustyesky from
RED SALUTE: The rousing music of Dustyesky from "Mullumgrad" will be at Mullum Music Festival.

They're Russian to entertain you

THE Mullum Music Festival is well known as an event of diversity and discovery with all sorts of interesting, musically and culturally diverse acts gracing the 12 stages over the four days of the festival.

This year, the Festival's 12th is no different, with 70 acts taking part in the event from November 14-17 at venues all over Mullumbimby.

However, while acts will come from near and far for the event, one of the more unusual acts doesn't have far to travel at all - not that you would know.

On the surface, Dustyesky may look like they have just left the villages of mother Russia to head south but appearances are deceiving in this case and the 28 bearded men, singing the songs of the Red Army and traditional Russian folk songs in handsome four-part harmonies, can be found sharing a beer in Mullumbimby each week.

Not that you'd know it if you try to interview them - but that mix of humour, love and respect for what they do is what has made them festival favourites from Woodford to the Melba Spiegeltent and WOMADelaide and everywhere in between.

But Mullumfest is their spiritual home, according to group spokesman Mark Swivel, who doggedly sticks to his on-stage persona.

"We love being able to walk home from the gig," he deadpans.

"Maybe stagger.

"Mullum Music Fest is the best festival in Australia.

"Everyone has fun, it's safe, the food and drink are great and we are all friends."

For Dustyesky, who Mark said featured members of all ages: "We're timeless, some boys on pensions, others still live with their mothers" it's kind of where it all began.

"We first do sing-song for Mullum Music Fest in 2014," he explains.

"We all work long, hot days on tractor collective and need hobby. No man can drink gherkin liqueur all day. Except Trent."

Their repertoire features the Russian National Anthem, Orchy Chornye, The Red Army Is The Strongest and Kalinka, amidst lesser known breathtaking show-stoppers all sung with love and respect, but not without a rich vein of humour and vitality running throughout their shows.

But how do a group of men from town-down "Mullumgrad" with very little (read none) connection to Russian turn into singing sensations in a foreign language?

"Why nyet?" Mark explains.

"We are all Russians just some of us more Russian than others.

For more information, go to mullummusicfestival.com.

And if you see the boys from Dustyesky at the bar after the gig go up and say hello they'd "love to meet your women and your livestock".


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