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‘Sound Tracks’ Explores Music and Journalism

January 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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An excerpt from the PBS program "Sound Tracks," which explores the bridging of journalism and music around the world.
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TRANSCRIPT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: a coming together of journalism and music around the world. One example comes from Russia, where the most popular political song since the fall of the Soviet Union is called “A Man Like Putin.” The song is about the country’s prime minister and former president.

The story of the producers and the performers who made it happen is told in a new PBS program. Here’s an excerpt.

The reporter is Alexis Bloom.

ALEXIS BLOOM: In Putin’s Russia, Moscow is a city of bright lights and glamour. However heavy-handed Putin may be, he has presided over an era of relative stability and prosperity. And he remains very popular.

In Moscow’s glittering night, it’s all about enjoying the moment. The karaoke clubs are packed. And they’re still playing that same old tune.

This night was a reunion. Yana and Irina offered to take the stage for us and sing the song that made them famous.

MAN: It’s practically the song of a generation. In 30 years, they will make a movie about the Putin era, and they will remember this song.

ALEXIS BLOOM: And Yelin, the old rock ‘n’ roll dissident, says he has no regrets his song became the anthem for the Putin generation.

ALEXANDER YELIN: I am a professional. I can write whatever you want. If I were asked to write an anti-Putin song, say, by some foreign intelligence service, I would do it for the money. And then I would laugh because a song like that doesn’t have a future. There is no market right now for a song that criticizes Putin. It is futile to criticize Putin.

JUDY WOODRUFF: That story and others like it can be seen tonight on “Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders” on most PBS stations.