Grandmothers of Buranovo Give Russian Village New Life
For years, Buranovo was a dying village, one of many in the Russian countryside left behind by an oil-driven boom that revitalized drab Soviet cities and drew the young away from the farms that had sustained their parents.
In places like this, collective farms routinely go bankrupt, log houses tilt and sink into the soil, roads become muddy ravines and village stores make much of their money selling vodka. Breaking the cycle of decline is considered difficult, if not impossible.
But 300-year-old Buranovo is proving to be an exception, for the unlikeliest of reasons: a troupe of eight local women, many of them old and stooped, known as the Buranovskiye Babushki (or Grandmothers of Buranovo), who sang their way to instant fame in May during the pop music contest called Eurovision.
The babushki, the oldest of which is 86, came in second in the annual contest, which pits performers from European countries against one another and holds the continent in thrall each spring.
The little ladies in traditional dresses and kerchiefs put on a rock ‘n’ roll performance that invited the world to laugh at them, smiling slyly as they shuffled across the stage and belted out their version of a hard-partying anthem, complete with a chorus in English:
“Party for everybody — dance! Come on and dance! Come on and dance!
Come on and boom boom!”
A video of the performance became a hit on the Web, adding to the more than 100 million television viewers who saw their act.