VIDEO: Will Dustyesky go to Russia with the Socceroos?
RAISED by wolves in Main Arm, that's how Dustyesky choir members were raised - or at least that's how the group explains their existence around Mullumbimby.
And now they want to go to Russia with the Socceroos in 2018.
The 28-strong choir that sings Red Army and folk Russian songs really started as a comic side project for Mullumbimby men to relax, connect and drink beer; a sort of men's shed with a bar nearby.
The evolving repertoire features the Russian National Anthem, Orchy Chornye, The Red Army Is The Strongest and Kalinka, among lesser-known show-stoppers.
Just a clarification: they sing in Russian, but none of them is actually a native speaker.
A couple of years after they performed for the very first time, the choir has surprised itself with their success.
Dustyesky has now performed sell out shows in Sydney (Bondi Pavilion), Melbourne (Melba Spiegeltent, Melbourne Fringe Festival), Woodford Folk Festival, Mullum Music Festival, Falls Festival Byron Bay and the Brisbane Russian Community Centre.
The choir confirmed today a show at Womadelaide in March 2018, but you can see them in Brunswick Heads this month for a fundraising show.
Their latest performance was at the Mullum Music Festival where they sung from the Mullum Ex Services Club balcony at the end of the Community Parade on Sunday:
To Russia with love
Choir Commissar Comrade Swainsky (aka Brunswick Heads resident Andrew Swain) said they can always spot the Russian in every audience.
"They sing with us, tears streaming down their cheeks," he said.
Comrade Swainsky said the choir already started trying to secure a trip to Russia in 2018.
"Officially, and candidly, we originally decided that we wanted to be the official choir to the Socceroos, because we figured there was going to be 30 spare seats at the back of their 747," Andrew Swain said.
"So we can follow them around and be their cheer squad.
"We were trying to make contact with Football Federation Australia, trying to plant the seed into their minds, but then we backed off because of the rocky road of the World Cup got rockier and rockier."
Dustyesky featured on Russian TV:
Luckily the Socceroos qualified to Russia 2018, but in the meantime, Dustyesky started to make friends in all the right places.
"In Melbourne, at the Fringe Festival, the Federal Minister for the Arts, Mitch Fifield, came to our gig and loved it, and met us and we want his help," he said.
"Then three weeks ago, at the Bondi Pavillion in Sydney, we met the Russian Consul in Sydney, Sergey Borisovich Shipilov, and the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Canberra, Grigory Logvinov, and their wives.
"The ambassador actually said to me he was amazed on how good was our pronunciation, but he's a diplomat and I think he was being very kind, but during the show they smiled and clapped and laughed a lot, so you can see that they were having a really good time."
Dustyesky hopes their new fans can help them get to Russia next year to cheer for the Socceroos and to sing for Russian audiences.
- At the Brunswick Picture House, 30 Fingal St, Brunswick Heads, on Tuesday, December 19, 7pm. A fundraiser for Mullum Neighbourhood Centre. $25.