Joanna Stingray discusses Red Wave and Russian music nostalgia in the face of the current war in Ukraine

Joanna Stingray joined Evan Toth of The Vinyl District to discuss her time smuggling underground Soviet rock music into the United States in the ’80s and how history appears to be repeating itself with the ongoing war in Ukraine. Toth underscores an important theme in Stingray’s memoir: music’s ability to unify various groups of people. Although it may seem like a romantic idea, music is a powerful tool of connectivity.

“Music has no borders… There is something about rock in particular that deeply connects you to it. And if you’re connected to it and people in other countries halfway around the world are also connected to it, somehow you’re connected to each other. It is a powerful tool for bonding,” Stingray notes.

Stingray reminds listeners “countries are made up of people” and to avoid assuming government action aligns with the broader wishes of a country’s people, for countless Russians oppose the current war. With this sentiment in mind, Toth hopes “music and art can offer some saving grace to the current situation.”

Listen to the full podcast interview, or click here for more information on Stingray’s memoir, Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground.