Allan “Dr Eclectic” Markin has recently released his new folk-roots album Places: Songs of Toil and Peaceful Life, consisting of 12 original compositions that explore important events in Doukhobor history, as well as salient elements of their life concept.
“The album was inspired by my desire to better understand my own Doukhobor heritage,” said Markin, “and to make the Doukhobor story more accessible to Doukhobors and nonDoukhobors.
This is why I chose to write all the songs in English.”
The songs have a strong ethnic Doukhobor/Russian flavor, with rich professional orchestration.
The album is a first, insofar as a Doukhobor musical project of this scope in English has not been done before.
“I guess I’m a bit of a pioneer,” said Markin, with a satisfied grin. “I’m very pleased that all the album art is ethnically Doukhobor.”
The Doukhobors were true Canadian pioneers who helped to settle the Canadian prairies in the early 20th century. Many of the songs honor the courage and faith that saw them through difficult times in Russia as well as in Canada.
Deda’s Song pays tribute to the Doukhobors who escaped religious and military persecution in Russia by coming to Canada in 1898/99. Sod Houses and Silver Linings evokes the early days of surviving on the cold Canadian prairies.
The Bridge Song celebrates the Doukhobor construction of the Brilliant Bridge near Castlegar.
The bridge has been fully restored and is a major tourist attraction in the area. Ootischenia’s Burning is a haunting personal response to incidents of arson that took place in the KootenayColumbia region of British Columbia.
When asked how the album is being received, Markin says, “I am thrilled by the positive responses from Doukhobors and non-Doukhobors."
Some of these responses can be found on his website.
"Here folks will also learn more about who I am, my various musical activities, enjoy samples of all the songs, read the lyrics and song descriptions , and find out how to purchase the CD.”
Markin is in the early stages of planning a tour through Western Canada to promote Places: Songs of Toil and Peaceful Life as well as his other original music.