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Westmoreland residents to lead city's Russian Old New Year celebration

by: PETER KORCHNAK - Westmoreland's Chervona rocked last year - Russian Old New Year celebration, on January 13 at Dante€sˇÃ„ôs Club on Burnside Street with Andre Temkin at center, on guitar, donning the Ded Moroz hat. For the seventh year in a row, two Westmoreland residents are offering “the cheapest tickets to Russia for one fun night” – on January 12, when they host the “Russian Old New Year Ball” at the Star Theater.

“We have all major ingredients for an amazing party,” smiled Andre Temkin, front man of the local band Chervona, whose self-professed purpose is “to make people happy” with an eclectic repertoire that includes both Temkin’s original creations, and covers of songs popular in his native Russia, performed both in English and Russian.

Married only since July, Temkin and Alma Laskoniene – the band’s muse – finish each other’s sentences. Laskoniene, who hails from Klaipeda, Lithuania, will co-MC the event as “Snegurochka”, the Russian Snow White. Contrary to expectations, she said, the majority of the band’s following is not Russian but American. “They love the music for various reasons: The energy, the message... We also have a strong Polish following.” But, Temkin added, “The Russian Old New Year is loved equally by Russians and Americans.”

Temkin bought a house in Westmoreland in 1997, two years into his life in Portland. He said, “You could say that life brought me here.” Since then, he has seen the neighborhood change dramatically – growing from a place that was “dead after dark” to one that is “full of life”. Temkin and Laskoniene's vision for the area includes a block party on Harold and Ellis Streets at Milwaukie Avenue, and a zip line to the Oaks Amusement Park. (The Oaks has yet to weigh in on that idea.)

“Russian Old New Year” is that nation’s version of the Orthodox New Year, also celebrated according to the Julian calendar in other countries observing the Eastern rite – including Ukraine, Serbia, and Macedonia.

Joining Chervona on the bill of the January 12th celebration will be Zhenya Rock & Balalaika Flying Brothers, Leo Nosov, and “Earth shaking Russian dance music expert” DJ Chkalov. In addition to Snegurochka, Ded Moroz (Russian Santa Claus) and Baba Yaga will also make an appearance.

If you find yourself toying with the idea of joining in the fun, get more information and tickets online, at: www.chervona.com