Feature: Nick Cave & the Volga

The connection between rock musician Nick Cave, the Seekers – a popular Australian folk band of the 1960s – and the Volga River would seem tenuous, but one of the most popular songs by the Seekers, and a classic cover that any Nick Cave fan will know, is the mournful ‘The Carnival Is Over’. In fact, this classic dirge is a Volga folk song about the Cossack leader Stepan Razin, who threw a kidnapped Persian princess overboard from a pirated ship on the Volga to prevent his men from dallying with her (probably not the best solution for such circumstances, but anyway). Songwriter Tom Springfield (brother of 1960s singer Dusty, for trivia freaks) wrote the English lyrics to the Seekers’ version, and this obscure Volga song popular in the late 19th century acquired a double-bass backing and a slightly de-Russified folk edge, eventually landing high among the top-50 best-selling records of all time. You can check out the three versions on YouTube.