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Vladimir Ilyich Lenin cast his disapproving eye over us as we played the town of Nurek, famous for powering Tajikistan with its hydro-electric dam. Only, when we arrived in the mountain town, all the electricity was out. A few quiet discussion and handshakes later and we were playing in the town square with the ‘Michael Jackson of Tajikistan’, Rustam, a pop singer with quite the fancy footwork. Initially only a group of kids cast their beady eyes on our performance, but word spread like wildfire and soon a crowd of 500 were crowding around, clapping, dancing and (with our instruction) making rock hand-signs for the camera. In a nice coincidence, it was the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s legendary flight into space, so our new song, ‘Space Cadet, praising the eastern cosmonauts of the past went down particularly well.
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