When it comes to buying CDs many ex-pats stock up on a trip back home or order music online. Most Kyivans, of course, immediately think of Petrivka, where you can find almost anything on the market. However, shopping there is not always comfortable, especially if the weather is bad, or if youâ€™re looking for something more peculiar than Britney Spears or Crazy Frog. Besides, sometimes you just donâ€™t want a pirated disc. With all this in mind, the Best Of team set out in search of the best music store in town.
We decided to start our tour at one of those numerous obscure specialty shops â€“ always hard to find unless you happen to know about them. And the Best Of team just happened to know about Dva Melomana (Two Music Lovers), near the Petrivka metro station. The place is an indie-style refuge for long-haired metalists and punks who seem to hang out there constantly despite the fact that itâ€™s more of a windowless kiosk than an actual store. The shop assistant who seems to have been there forever is very familiar with the assortment on hand â€“ not exactly large but pretty varied, though youâ€™ll hardly find any Russian or Ukrainian pop. Perhaps most notable about Dva Melomana is the message board plastered with notes such as: â€œTwo female vocalists looking for a band to work withâ€ or â€œUsed electric guitar for saleâ€ and so on. Thatâ€™s certainly one of the reasons the real rockers never leave.
In the Arch
Arka CD is another store with the atmosphere of a specialty shop. Situated in the very heart of Kyiv, close to Maidan Nezalezhnosti, its location on Prorizna makes it hard to bump into accidentally because you canâ€™t see it from the street. The number of CDs reaches into the thousands, most of them licensed in Ukraine and priced at Hr 20. Soundtracks are sorted in a separate section, and so is jazz, blues, Râ€™nâ€™B as well as Russian and Ukrainian music. The rest is arranged alphabetically in a glass box, where you can find some real rarities, such as old albums from Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan and the Beastie Boys. But if you know what youâ€™re looking for itâ€™s easy to ask one of the shop assistants, all of whom are real connoisseurs. Thereâ€™s also a CD player available if you want to have a listen before you buy, but, as with most small stores, you have to ask one of the staff to get it for you, which is sort of a drag.
Clubbing at Globus
Media Club, in the Globus shopping center, can be accessed from the street as well: just head behind the Independence statue to the right. The first thing that caught our eye when we entered were the stands displaying vinyl albums by such legends as Queen, the Beatles and Nirvana priced from Hr 120. The Best Of team was also pleasantly surprised to find a special stand of new jazz releases, set apart from the latest albums in other genres. The rest of the CD assortment lined the wall conveniently arranged in alphabetical order, if not exactly in accordance with the signs indicating the supposed musical style. For instance, under â€œJazzâ€ we found Pink and Roxette next to Al Di Meola and Dave Brubeck, though the selection of jazz and blues in general was large, whereas the choice of Russian and Ukrainian music as well as soundtracks was pretty modest. Besides, for such a big store, one CD player obviously wasnâ€™t enough. Relatively pleased, the Best Of team moved on in the hope finding something even better.
Euro Star shines the brightest
Euro Star is the oldest and biggest CD chain in Kyiv, but the shops actually differ quite a bit from one another. The one inside Metrograd right by Bessarabska ploshcha really stood out from the others. First of all, Euro Star was the only place on our list to carry products other than music that are still essential to any fan, such as a great selection of portable CD holders â€“ from funny purses shaped liked frogs to solid and official-looking briefcases â€“ and all sorts of CD shelves, headphones, batteries and blank CD-Rs.
Whatâ€™s more, the music assortment at Euro Star was outstanding, starting with a selection of hundreds of pieces of vinyl occupying the entire wall of the store: Robby Williams, Moby, Gorillaz and many other kinds of music that would be especially appreciated by any professional DJ. To make your CD search as simple as possible the discs have strangely been sorted by the performerâ€™s sex â€“ â€œboysâ€ and â€œgirls,â€ obviously â€“ as well as by genre: jazz/blues, Râ€™nâ€™B, rap, rock and a whole row of classical music, all ranging in price from Hr 20 up to Hr 100. In addition we found a section with music DVDs to suite any taste. The store offers several players to use, including one for records â€“ yet another plus. Add to that a helpful and informed staff, and you get the best music store in Kyiv.
Metrograd, 1/2 Baseyna, 247-5656
by Alexandra Matoshko, Kyiv Post Staff Writer