Mariana Sadovska Sadovska, 29, The stateside Um, did you "She moved So where exactly "In Cleveland," Eeen Cleeeve-lahnd. Okay, why Cleveland? "That Why a mistake? "It’s Makes a little "Mmmmmmmmmm…" "Like, Hands fly and And? "When Ah, but life "I met It’s appropriate Sadovska on "And then Purses her "I miss
amidst mushrooms–toadstools, moist fungi with umbrella-shaped caps.
is a Ukrainian singer who’s spending a year in New York as artist-in-residence
at the East Village’s Yara Arts Group, and when she blasts into Ave. A’s
alt.coffee on a torpid afternoon, it’s like someone’s just dropped
a ruby into a crate of onions. Alt.coffee on a weekday around noon is serious
abject hipster territory, I mean low, as in low-energy, as in
dispirited. Unshaven dudes in shower sandals peck at laptops, scowl into
space, pinch gummy cigarettes between weedy fingers–shuffle back, stooping
and irascible, to the john. The walls sweat. The upholstery teems with yeasts
and spores. Meanwhile, here’s gorgeous brown-haired Sadovska, this trilling
Slavic dramatic songbird confetti-bomb explosion in heels and a green dress
who glows, shines, pouts, coos, purrs, vibrates, hums–in all ways busts
up the humid stupor. Hipsters ogle. A ponce slides up, asks her for her phone
number in Russian, gets smacked right back. (She’s been in the place for
all of 37 seconds.) Alt.coffee: arguably the most unlikely place on the planet
in which to meet a Slavic diva. Cracks in the plaster smear and drip with lymph
history of Mariana Sadovska: "Last year I was here for private reason,
visiting my mama." My mahhh-ma. "In Ohio." Singsong and
melancholy and intensely charming: Eeen O-hiiii-o.
say your mother lives in Ohio?
eight years ago for political–actually–reason. She used to be very
engaged in this problem of religion. Orthodox, Cahhtho-leek–it was
a time when it was–" Here her voice becomes conspiratorial and she
leans over the nasty table marooned in the vile floor. "–dahhngerous
she says, soulfulness softening her huge eyes.
Sadovska makes that Rust Belt ruin sound as enchanting as Krakow or Prague.
Slavic cooing; the woman’s sure got a musical voice. It moans and quavers
like a lark through lovely octaves.
was, you know, occasion, and actually it was big mistake, and now it’s
difficult to change."
just, like, because that’s in Ohio! That’s pro-veen-shal! And
what’s going on there? Notheeng! What kind of people are there? Oh my
God. You know, so."
poofing sound with her lips, looses a delicate hand to flutter through stale
A lovely and slightly nasal purr issues from deep within her. And how long did
Sadovska inhabit the Jewel City of the Cuyahoga? She screws up her face, a child
one mont’? Eet’s pretty boring. I mean, you have nice museum there.
You cannot walk on the street there! You cannot meet people! There is no concert
there! There is nothing going on, so eet’s pretty boring. Eet’s pretty
pro-veen-shal a place."
fall (and stick? they might even stick) to the table. Singer as enchanting perpetual
motion machine: hands play about the chopstick shoved through the baroque mass
of her brown hair. They form little fists and bop against each other in feisty
little battles. "I spent last 10 years in small veellage. In small veellage
close to the natura! Very concentrated in work–every day you have
een-cred-ible luxury of European thee-ah-ter, which is supported. So
we have money to develop ar-tees-tic ideas. So that’s big difference.
I feel like here is this concentrated everything from the world! You can say,
I want to find this–and you will find it in New York… Every night you
can find so many beautiful theengs."
I came here, first two months, I was incredibly fascinated and happy. Then after,
when I start to work–I never worked like that! So I was like–"
Makes fist of right hand, socks herself in the side of head, morphs face into
screwball expression– "So, mmmmmm, then it was just really
like crisis time! Because you have no time! You have no time to read! You have
no time to meet your people, because always you speak to answering machine–always
in New York! …So I passed through kind of depression. No! Not depression,
but very sad and very lost period, you know, like voo!"
in New York can, in fact, improve.
people which immediately become your friends. I met a lot of craaay-zy
people, byooo-teeful people, and that’s New York. I think this creates
atmosphere of New York! All these people here! I don’t think it’s
city for people who want to get money, only, or for people who are weak. I think
only if you are strong enough or if you are crazy enough–or talented enough–you
can manage in New York." She performs an excruciatingly European shrug
of the shoulders. "That’s my feeling, I don’t know."
to point out here that Sadovska’s indeed managing in New York. The New
York Times enthused last March about her cabaret act, in which she performs
rural Ukrainian songs and accompanies herself on her harmonium, calling it "nearly
reckless but oddly perfect," and gushing, "…Ms. Sadovska’s
delivery was as wired, forthright and sexual as a rock star’s–Polly
Jean Harvey, perhaps. She could have been singing the same material in front
of a rock trio."
Brooklyn, her temporary home:
you have Greenpoint, and Williamsburg, it’s real Poland… It’s
real, not touristic, Poland how it eeez. So then it is Greenpoint, then
it is Bedford Ave., you know. These funky people, artists, small galleries,
small cafes like that, which I really love. Then there is this Haseeedic
area, and I’m exactly in between! And there are, near, Puerto Rican people!
It’s fascinating, very alive place, and this meexture. Five minute
there, voo! Five minute there–like, totally different world!"
mouth, manages to look at once impish and soulful, her brown mane tumbling around
to be back to Europe," she coos. "I miss to be back to that more calm
Um, did you
So where exactly
Okay, why Cleveland?
Why a mistake?
Makes a little
Hands fly and
Ah, but life