The ''Survivor'' theme song -- The reality show's catchy anthem is performed by the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble

By Corey Takahashi
Updated June 30, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

If there’s one thing TV has taught us, it’s that you can’t have a show about stranded castaways without a corny-but-catchy theme song. Survivor‘s mystical tune ”Ancient Voices” is sparking almost as much watercooler talk as the show’s alternative cuisine, inspiring producers to compile a soon-to-be-released Survivor CD.

So what tropical tribe is responsible for the tune’s memorable chanting? That’d be the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble from the sunny village of Moscow. ”It’s part of an ancient Russian folk song that I’ve totally bastardized,” admits lead composer Russ Landau. He mixed snippets of the obscure Russian band with Malaysian percussion beats, techno flourishes, and — voila! — music to snack upon rats by.

The one sound you won’t hear on Survivor‘s soundtrack: mullet-headed rockers Survivor, the guys behind Rocky III‘s ”Eye of the Tiger.” Why the oversight? ”We all joke about that,” says Landau. ”But it’s kind of ’80s, isn’t it?” Survivor the band beg to differ: ”They can’t use our name and not our music!” deadpans lead singer Jimi Jamison. ”Who is the music director on that show? I gotta call my lawyer.”

With additional reporting by Rob Brunner; Edited by A.J. Jacobs