Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground
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About the Author
Joanna Stingray is an author and musician from Los Angeles, California, who lived for many years in Russia. She became the first American producer of underground Russian rock n' roll when she released the double album Red Wave -- 4 Underground Bands from the USSR -- a compilation of music smuggled out of the USSR by Joanna in 1985. A frequent traveler in and out of Russia, Joanna was interrogated by the KGB and FBI (both thought she was a spy) and in 1987, she became an enemy of the State -- her visa blocked to keep her from entering the Soviet Union to marry Kino guitarist Yuri Kasparyan. After months of intervention by the U.S. State Department, she returned to Russia, married Yuri and in the early '90s became a television host, a recording artist, and well known rock personality throughout Russia. She has published several books in Russia about her time in the music scene as well as much of her photo collection. Her video diaries and interviews of bands and their musicians is the only archive of this clandestine, bygone world.
"FREE TO ROCK," the 2017 documentary exposé directed by Jim Brown and narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, features interviews with Joanna Stingray, prominent American musicians who toured the Soviet Union, and several important Russian musicians. It reveals to the world the dismantling socio-political effect of "soft power," and discovers how American rock n' roll and the release of Red Wave during glasnost contributed to the ending of the Cold War.
Madison Stingray is the author of two books as well as songs, poems, and short stories, the common theme of all being a strong female narrative and an attempt at human solidarity. She graduated from Georgetown University magna cum laude and received her Master's degree in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge in England. Growing up, the Leningrad Underground Rock days were stories that became her fairytales, and her contribution to putting those adventures in print is to inspire others that extraordinary things can happen to anyone who fights for something.