Mullumbimby choir Dustyesky at the Brunswick Heads breakwater, filming for Australian Story. Picture: Anna Swain
Mullumbimby choir Dustyesky at the Brunswick Heads breakwater, filming for Australian Story. Picture: Anna Swain

Mullum’s ‘fake genuine’ Russian choir on national TV

WHAT started as a joke between mates, none of whom speak Russian, has evolved into a national icon.

A group of men from Mullumbimby formed Dustyesky about five years ago, a group that sings solely in Russian.

Their quirky rise to fame will be featured on Australian Story tonight at 8pm and on ABC iview.

“It started as a one-off thing and it just kind of grew out of control,” choir master Andrew Swain said.

Most recently they garnered international attention from the Russian Ministry of Culture, who invited to perform at Red Square for the Grand Victory Parade in early May.

“The Russian invitation came was pretty out of the blue,” Mr Swain said.

“A message came in from a Russian woman, she said, ‘I have a really good offer for you’. What can be more terrifying than that?”

The Russian government had every intention of flying the 28-man choir out for a four minute performance, however the event was postponed due to COVID-19.

They were devastated not to go, and have extended an invitation to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, to have a beer and sing with them in “Mullumgrad”.

“It’s a standing invitation, we haven’t had a reply from the Kremlin yet,” Mr Swain said.

They sing rousing renditions of Red Army and traditional Russian folk songs in four-part harmonies.

“I thought I was choosing songs that nobody would know, I couldn’t have been more wrong,” he said.

“The Russians just love it, we get plenty at our shows.

“At our Sydney show they sang along from the moment we started, they know all of the verses.”

He said the choir loved working with the ABC, and they look forward to seeing the documentary tonight.

“It is such an iconic show, it’s usually about famous people or people who have done something really good, so we were definitely surprised they wanted to work with us,” Mr Swain said.