"Please, come back, our dear Teddy bear"


Russia newspaper June 2001

Sting in Moscow: "Please, come back, our dear Teddy bear" 

The Olympic concert hall is overcrowded. The public is in ecstasy. Fans' emotions – and not only fans' – are splashing out. Alfa Bank is skilled in giving presents. To say nothing of Sting… Acquaintance with this man impressed Masha Tarasevich, a famous beauty and a jazz singer. It was also a kind of a present, a present of Destiny. Recently some details of their acquaintance became known, particularly that Sting promised to come back on saying good-bye to Moscow. 

"I first met Sting a year ago. I performed at the jazz festival in Montreal. Rubin, my playfellow, was the organizer of this festival. He has a club of his own in Montreal. Long ago, when Sting was just beginning his career, Rubin helped him in his formation. He invested money in him, as we say now. Since that time they are friends. 

It was at that festival that Rubin introduced me to Sting and his group. 

Does Sting know that you are the first Russian Playboy cover girl? 

Sting asked me how it happened and how I managed to appear in the New-York Times column. By the way, the latter impressed him greatly. But most of the time we discussed different questions, I mean that we are both musicians. 

Did you meet tete-a-tete? 

When we first met – yes. Then he introduced his musicians to me. Now we are all friends. Chris Botti, his trumpeter, is a brilliant musician. Sting even says: "Chris looks like an angel and plays like Miles Davis". 

Chris even looks like young Sting. Dominic Miller, the guitarist, works with Sting for 12 years and he may be called the most long playing musician in his group. Sting changes performers rather often… And the guitarist is permanent, because he is wonderful. Very warm relationships formed with Kipper, the producer of the Brand New Days, his last album. 

Is it true that Sting's musicians are on extremely good terms with one another? 

Yes, they speak mostly about yoga, practically all musicians get in for it, and Sting gets for yoga for more than 20 years! Yoga is not only physical, but spiritual exercises as well. It creates the atmosphere, which helps creative and very independent people to get on friendly terms and not to bother one another. It is not easy to constantly see the same people day by day, while the tour lasts. By the way, it is already 1 year and 10 months. (The tour ends by the end of August). I believe that it is yoga that gave philosophic direction to the music which we hear in the Sting's music of late. It allows meditating, calming down, it also opens sacral knowledge and, of course, loving. The deep idea of eastern philosophy on which yoga bases is the idea of love. Previously Sting's music was rather hard; harmony came with years and brought new shades to his music. Besides, chess also unite them all. Garry Kasparov is Sting's close friend. 

Did Sting share his opinion about Russia with you? The musician is sure to have told you something in a non-official conversation and it must be different from what he says in press. 

He was disappointed with the concert, which had been arranged in Kremlin five years ago, and we discussed this question very emotionally. Those who came to that concert were all snobs, like characters from anecdotes about new Russians. They wished to get to the Kremlin House of Congresses not for the good of their soul, but because it was a matter of prestige. As for such musician as Sting, he needs the energy of the audience and expects the stalls to dance, as it was in the Olympic Hall. "Kremlin – oh, no!" – Sting used to say remembering his previous visit to Moscow five tears ago. Besides it happened in wet March with its Moscow slush; the city had not yet calmed down after change of authority and looked ugly and uncomfortable. Generally speaking, he had a lot of impressions. But this time everything was absolutely different. I promised the musicians that they would like Moscow. I described reconstructed Moscow in glowing terms, told that it had become one of the most beautiful European capitals. Just before their arrival in Moscow the sky was cloudless. The Olympic Hall was full. The audience was roaring, nobody could sit still, something extraordinary was happening! Sting was happy! I don't doubt that he fell in love with Moscow audience. Unfortunately, he lacked time to see the capital: his tour schedule was too intensive. 

Does it mean that you failed to become the guide for this legendary musician? 

Their schedule was very compressed. They arrived at two o'clock p.m., then they gave a concert, and at 12 p.m. of the next day they left for Stockholm where they were giving the next concert. But we saw each other before the concert. Igor Butman, his wife Oksana and Canadian Haidi Hollinger also spoke to Sting. 

It is a well-known fact that Sting is a vegetarian. How did he behave at the table? 

I didn't notice if he ate anything. Well, he just sipped wine. But what I know for sure is that before eating, the musicians always offer up a prayer thanking God for the food he is giving them. After supper Igor Butman and I tried to allure the guests with Moscow nightlife, but they were all exhausted, besides they had to fly further. Only the pianist went to Le-Club with us. Yet all of them promised to come back after the tour and to appear at our jazz-clubs. So we said good-bye to each other hoping to meet again soon. 

Alexander Kogan, Olesya Belova