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Pyotr Mamonov died in Moscow at the age of 71. We recall the main milestones of his creative biography.

The founder of the “Sounds of Mu” group, actor and creator of his own solo performances, Pyotr Mamonov was born in 1951. He grew up in Bolshoy Karetny Lane, in the same courtyard where another legend once lived – Vladimir Vysotsky.

Hooligan and music lover

The parents understood very quickly that their son is a creative and extraordinary person. The intelligent father-engineer and mother-translator were now and then called to school, where Peter “arranged a circus”, as the teachers put it.

The outrage ended in high school when he became interested in music. Together with his friends, he even created a group that covered the songs of senior foreign colleagues, whom everyone talked about in the 1960s – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin. He loved both jazz and blues. Listened to Ray Charles, Ike Turner, Miles Davis and others. The records were supplied by his friend’s stepfather, who held a high position and had the right to travel abroad.

For some time he joined the hippie movement, whose pacifist views, however, did not prevent him from participating in fights. In one of them, he was seriously wounded in the chest area – the doctors had to work hard to save him. He himself said in an interview that he suffered clinical death then.

In 1979, after studying at the Polygraphic College, Mamonov entered the Moscow Polygraphic Institute, but never graduated. It was a time about which he did not like to talk to journalists afterwards. He worked as a loader, proofreader, typesetter, elevator operator, fireman.

In the early 1980s, Peter took up music seriously. At first, the group included only him and his brother Alexei, but then the keyboardist and bass player joined them. So in 1983 the group “Sounds of Mu” appeared. At first, the team performed at small venues. In 1984, “Sounds of Mu” gave a concert in a small (for 300 spectators) assembly hall of special school No. 30, in which the leader of the group once studied.

First successes

The composition changed frequently. The musicians left, unable to withstand the stress. It was not enough for Mamonov to play just well, he needed an ideal result. Nevertheless, the group performed a lot. In the mid-1980s, “Sounds of Mu” traveled to Latvia, performed at the major festival “Movement towards Spring”, after which the musicians of such groups as “Kino” and “Aquarium” recognized that Mamonov’s team was brilliant.

Real success came with perestroika. Constant concerts, tours, fans, festivals have become a noticeable part of the band’s life. In 1988, they recorded two albums at once: “Simple Things”, which included early songs, and “Crimea”, in which there were already completely new compositions.

British composer Brian Eno, who worked with David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, U2 and other world famous musicians, drew attention to “Sounds of Moo”. He met the collective almost by accident – it happened during the composer’s first visit to the USSR. Ino offered them a contract to release the album. Zvuki Mu was released in 1989 in England and the band toured Europe.

There will be no more “Sounds of Mu” – with such news the team returned to their homeland. Mamonov decided to reduce the team to two participants – himself and his brother. The new group was named “Mamonov and Alexey”. In 1990, Peter founded his own recording studio, Mamonov Branch, aimed at helping aspiring musicians. She worked for about two years.

The Sound of Moo was soon revived, but with a different bass player and drummer. The musicians released the album “Rough Sunset”, but Mamonov increasingly gravitated towards solo creativity. One day in the mid-1990s, he left for the village, where he recorded the album “The Life of Amphibians as It Is”. In the future, he created several more albums almost completely alone.

Not only a musician

Gradually, the passion for music began to fade into the background, giving way to acting. Mamonov made his film debut in 1988 with a small role in Rashid Nugmanov’s film “Needle”. And in 1990 he played the main role – saxophonist Alexei Seliverstov in the drama of Pavel Lungin “Taxi Blues”. Later, the director said that the film was largely born from his acquaintance with Mamonov, the script was written specifically for him. The film won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.

The main success for Mamonov-actor was brought by the role in another film by Lungin – the film “The Island” (2006). He played the monk Anatoly, who for many years has been trying to forgive his sin – the shooting of a comrade during the war. The director recalled that Mamonov, who by that time had converted to Orthodoxy, played himself more than a character. Both the audience and critics warmly welcomed the film – it won several prestigious awards, including “Nika” and “Golden Eagle”.

In the early 1990s, Mamonov began acting on the stage of the Stanislavsky Moscow Drama Theater (now the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre). Then he tried himself as a director, staging the play “The Bald Brunette” with Oleg Babitsky and Denis Burgazliev. Later he began to stage solo performances here, in which he himself played. His production “Is there life on Mars?”, Based on Anton Chekhov’s play “The Proposal”, did not leave the repertoire for several years. His solo performance “How I read Saint Isaac the Syrian” was very popular.

In the 2010s, Mamonov continued to write poetry, staged a new solo performance “Grandfather Peter and the Hares”, acted in films, performed with the group “Completely New Sounds of Mu”. In 2019, he was admitted to the hospital with a heart attack. He underwent two heart surgeries, but after three months he again performed on stage.

Pyotr Nikolayevich passed away on July 15 – he died at the age of 70 in one of the Moscow hospitals.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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