You Tube link to Mullumbimby men singing:

https://youtu.be/pduBdD5hbyY

Vodka-swilling choir from Mullumbimby cracks the big time in Russia

A bunch of Aussie blokes who started out bonding over vodka and Russian folk songs have become an overnight sensation on the other side of the world.

Dustyesky is a 28-man choir from the northern New South Wales town of Mullumbimby.

They formed over a mutual love of vodka and Russian music, despite not speaking the language or having any other connection to the country.

Their repertoire resulted in them being booked to sing at an event for Russian expats in Brisbane, which was featured in a Russian-Australian newspaper.

Dustyesky performing in a cabaret and burlesque show at Brunswick Heads

From Brisbane event to audience of millions

Dustyesky member Andrew Swain said that article was the catalyst for a media snowball that ended with them appearing on Russian national television broadcaster Channel One, with an audience of 250 million people.

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“The article went online and subsequently a newspaper in Belarus lifted the article and re-jigged it, and each time I’ve read a further article that’s been translated it becomes more bizarre,” Mr Swain said.

“The last piece of information I read about Mullumbimby was that all the men here work with timber, so it becomes more bizarre the more it becomes Russian-ified.

“Then we got a message on the phone with a little video attached, interestingly enough in the middle of an interview we were giving to another Russian TV station via Skype in the middle of the night.

“So, we held it up to the phone to Vilda [the reporter doing the interview] and said ‘What are they saying?’ and she said ‘They are very excited to be seeing people from Australia singing Russian songs’.

“It was the kind of man-bites-dog story at the end of the news saying ‘Check out the crazy Aussies from Mullumbimby singing songs from our heartland’.”

The story was played several times on Channel One news programs and has resulted in an offer from an entertainment executive to fly the choir to Russia for a tour.

Morale-boost for Russians

Dustyesky performs on stage at the Brunswick Heads Memorial Hall

Dustyesky member Mark Swivel said the choir had also received hundreds of messages of support from Russians on social media.

“Apparently Australia is like the last frontier to Russians. They have very little idea of Australia at all and so the curiosity value is huge,” Mr Swivel said.

“It seems that people are touched that blokes from such a strange culture so far away would be interested in singing Russian songs at all.

“There have been some comments about our accents, but the general response has been overwhelmingly positive, and you can feel the emotion from people.”

Mr Swivel said some Russians had thanked Dustyesky for positively portraying Russian culture.

“There are some comments from people that Russia is getting a bit of a hiding in the news these days,” Mr Swivel said.

“So, with a sense of wounded national pride, to hear the old folk songs and Red Army songs is incredibly moving for them and it’s a bit of a boost if you can believe it.

“We’re just a bunch of ratbags who like to get together and have a bit of a sing on a Tuesday night.

“It doesn’t get crazier really.”

Dustyesky hopes to visit Russia in 2018 to coincide with the FIFA World Cup.