Андрей Истоков - актер, певец, музыкант
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Андрей Истоков - актёр, певец, бард. Пресса о нём.

Letter from Moscow

    Moscow — Andrei Istokov is sitting on a couch on a Saturday night when his cellphone rings. He has a short conversation with the caller, then sings Love Me Tender at the top of his lungs.
    The rest of the people in the room stop and look in astonishment at the bearded 39-year-old, but Mr. Istokov does not notice the stares. For him, this is just another Saturday night.
    Mr. Istokov, an opera-trained vocalist and would-be musical-theatre actor, is Moscow's mobile minstrel. He sings for free for anyone who calls, to cheer up the city's sadder souls, he said.
    It is a labour of love he performs seven days a week, at any hour of the day or night. If the phone rings while he is sleeping, he gets up and sings for the caller. If it catches him in the middle of a meal, he puts his fork down and belts out a tune.
    "I was on the elektrichka [a suburban train] the other day. Someone called and I sang. Why not? The people around me looked at me like I was crazy, though."
    On an average day, he receives perhaps 30 calls. Some are from as far afield as Vladivostok, seven time zones east, on Russia's Pacific Coast.
    He has regulars, too. A woman who has cerebral palsy has called every day for seven years.
"She can't leave her apartment, so sometimes it's the only way she gets to hear people's voices," Mr. Istokov said. "She says it helps. Except for me, it's just her cat."
    For a long time, a young boy used to call from a pay phone every morning on his way to school. "I don't know why he calls. I think he just likes to hear singing."
    Other callers are just curious folks attracted by his newspaper ad, or often teenagers who have had a few beers and are looking for a laugh. No matter who calls, Mr. Istokov sings the tune, though he conceded he is not up to date on what is being played on hit radio, and he does not do rap.
    Once upon a time in Russia, a singer of Mr. Istokov's background might have achieved his dream of performing live on stage every night to packed houses. But he believes he graduated from the State Institute of Theatre Art at the wrong time.
    It was 1990, just before the Soviet Union collapsed. When the Communist state died, so did its formidable investment in the arts.
    In the aftermath of the market reforms of perestroika - a word he says somewhat bitterly - what work he could find in the arts did not pay enough to live. Busking on street corners meant harassment from the police. So he turned to the telephone.
    "We have here in Russia, after perestroika, few places where one can get paid to sing," he said. "I started doing this because I really wanted to sing. I love to sing."
    The first step was to hang a giant banner out the window of the apartment he shares with his retired parents. "I sing for free on the telephone" it reads, along with his home number. That was 10 years ago. 
    While the sign is still there, he has moved with the times. In addition to the cellphone, he has a Web site (www.istokov.narod.ru) and has learned some songs in English, mostly Beatles tunes, to complement the hundreds of Russian folk tunes he has in his repertoire.
    He has written a few songs, including one about his unique life, called Ballad of the Telephone Musician.
    He said it is better to call him at home where he has his guitar for accompaniment, but he will perform just about anywhere.
He may have started a fad. A trumpet player and a cellist are advertising their over-the-phone services, as well. Rather than feeling threatened, Mr.    Istokov said he wants to get together with the other musicians and perhaps perform a telephone concert.
    Best of all, 10 years later, singing finally is paying financial dividends. His reputation has grown to the point that he is being paid to sing at weddings, birthdays and house parties.

By MARK MacKINNON, "Globe and Mail Update"

 
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istokov@yandex.ru
Официальный сайт Андрея Истокова, 2006 год