Zoopark was one of the founding rock groups which began the Russian rock movement. The group was founded in 1981. It consisted of singer-songwriter Mike Naumenko, guitarist Aleksandr Khrabunov and a varied group of artists. The first album recorded was All Brothers are Sisters with Boris Grebenshchikov in 1978. They recorded on the banks of the Neva River in Leningrad with a "choir" of drunken friends and colleagues playing percussion on metal cans. Naumenko was a rock outcast, concentrating his work on electrified hard-core blues, although his Russian-language poetic songwriting made him a favorite in the hippie underground. His inspirations included Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, T. Rex, B.B. King and Chuck Berry.
Naumenko died in 1991, cutting his career short. He remains celebrated, however, as a pioneer of Russian rock music, with his birthday observed in St. Petersburg clubs, along with numerous creative tributes, including a 2009 novel and an "blues opera" that premiered in 2011. A collection of Naumenko's complete written works — including his samizdat translation of Richard Bach's Illusions — is being prepared for publication in 2015.
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