September 23, 2008 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Soviet Music "You are browsing a resource which is devoted first of all to the history and culture of the Soviet Union, the country which the West for a long time usually named as "The Empire of Evil", the country to which some people in the West perceive as "something big and snowy". I offer you to try to look outside the frames of usual stereotypes, to try to understand life of a unique country, with its interesting history, beautiful culture and miraculous relations between people. The music submitted on this site - is an evident sample of a totally new culture, which completely differs from all that, with what Hollywood and MTV supply us so much. This culture, being free from the cult of money, platitude, violence and sex, was urged to not indulge low bents of a human soul but to help the person to become culturally enriched and to grow above himself."

I am liking for one "To be first in labour and in fight you should be a sportsman" [this link can break any second].
posted by tellurian (16 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Hahaha, I love these kinds of people. Probably some pensioner who gets all misty-eyed thinking about how they used to send him to the boondocks to pick potatoes during the second year of university. Ah yes, me and Nadezhda Petrovna, daughter of the second secretary of the Yaroslavl Oblast Committee, how we used to dance and frolic to the sweet sounds of Sovetsky Dzhaz. Those were the days!
posted by nasreddin at 8:46 AM on September 23, 2008 [6 favorites]

Thankfully they were foiled by moose und sqvirrel.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 AM on September 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wasn't there a hard core underground soviet punk movement? I mean, being forced against your will to "not indulge" doesn't really get you there...
posted by ewkpates at 8:57 AM on September 23, 2008

Song about electrification of russian villages [this link can break any second].
posted by tellurian at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2008

My Black Sea [this link can break any second].
posted by tellurian at 9:15 AM on September 23, 2008

I share nasreddin's enjoyment. Just look at these categories:

Labour songs
Che Guevara
Soviet cities
About sea
Sport songs
Komsomol songs
Pioneer songs
Soviet Leaders
Military marches
Lyrics about war

Comrade, my heart swells with brotherhood and military lyricism!

For anyone interested in the real music of the Soviet period, I recommend not only the bards (who you probably know about) but the Ganelin Trio and other amazing avant-garde jazz (documented by Leo Records, which has put out a whole series of Golden Years Of The Soviet New Jazz albums—here's a review of the first).
posted by languagehat at 9:21 AM on September 23, 2008

Song about the electrification of american villages [this link can break dance any second].
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:22 AM on September 23, 2008

Yes, you are right nasreddin. There is a black and there is a white. Is there no room for a grey though, can you not appreciate the beauty and joy of this music and sound outside of your monochrome prism?
posted by tellurian at 9:28 AM on September 23, 2008

Dude, nasreddin's been there, done that. You are missing his point, and you might want to back off from moderating your own thread.
posted by languagehat at 9:34 AM on September 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, you are right nasreddin. There is a black and there is a white. Is there no room for a grey though, can you not appreciate the beauty and joy of this music and sound outside of your monochrome prism?


Uh, I've spent many hours in my life drinking vodka and singing songs about the heroic high voltage wire installers and whatnot. I used to know a couple of them by heart--there was one about the heroic Soviet border patrol and one about a heroic Civil War soldier who carries off the daughter of the evil village monarchist or something. I'm not, like, dismissing them. They're my kultura.
posted by nasreddin at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2008

Steady on. I'm not trying to moderate or curtail any input, far from it. I acknowledge and appreciate input from both nasreddin and languagehat. I just chanced upon this site as a consequence of this post. I don't have a dog in this fight, I just like the music.
posted by tellurian at 10:07 AM on September 23, 2008

Oh, good links to the bards, languagehat. I've been listening to Aleksandr Galich a lot recently. One fantastic song is called "A story about how Klim Petrovich spoke at an assembly in defense of peace"--not only is it funny, but also an incredible indictment of Soviet society.

You can ask my wife, Dasha,
Or ask her sister, Klavka,
I hadn't drunk even a tiny drop--
Well, maybe I was a little bit hung over.

I was spending my Sunday in a civilized fashion.
I took a bath and went to the sauna.
And by lunchtime, when my family gathered,
We started telling stories and ribbing.

Right when I'd drunk a hundred grams or so, to start off
(Not more than a hundred, I swear!)
I see there's a car driving up to the house
And it's got Oblast Committee plates.

So I hop out on my porch--who's the guest?
Who'd they bring, maybe a Czech?
It's some kind of aide, a stiff-necked bureaucrat
And he says, "Get in, we're leaving."

Well, if they're calling me,
Then here I come!
There's a morning assembly at the Culture House
In defense of peace.

So I sit in his lap, and he gives me a sheet.
I'm not gonna say no.
"Familiarize yourself," he says, "on the way,
"With your brilliant and notable speech."

Whatever, I think, keep puffing yourself up.
I'm an old hand at reading out loud, thank God!
We arrive, and I get on stage
And sit down, very civilized, off to the side.

So I look, and the chairman's winking at me--
Like, get up, speak your piece like a worker--
I walk out,
And not choppily, like a woodpecker,
But calmly and very seriously, I say:

"The militarism," I say, "of the Israelis,
"Is well-known to the whole world!
"As a mother," I say, "as a woman,
"I demand they answer for themselves!"

"I've been a widow for so many years,
"I've left all happiness by the wayside.
"But I'm ready to stand up
"And work for peace!"

Well, my jaw just came unhinged right there.
When've you seen a mistake like that?
That asshole, the pretty-boy aide
Got his papers mixed up!

And I don't know whether to stop or keep going,
The audience isn't giggling or howling.
The first secretary, I see, isn't making faces either.
Just nodding to me!

So I went off at a gallop through the phrases,
(Thank God, it's the same thing every time),
And when I finished--everyone clapped at once.
Even the first secretary put his hands together, personally.

And then he called me into his presence
And said in front of everybody--
"You sure showed them, brother, like a real worker!
Gave a true analysis of the situation!"
That's how it went.
posted by nasreddin at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

In Soviet Union, music plays you!
posted by kcds at 2:35 PM on September 23, 2008

Crazy find, tellurian. Thanks heaps!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:03 PM on September 23, 2008

Re-reading your first comment nasreddin, I realise that I completely misinterpreted it when I read it as a sarcastic swipe against this type of old music. I apologise for my comment.
posted by tellurian at 3:52 PM on September 24, 2008

No worries. Thanks for the post.
posted by nasreddin at 4:31 PM on September 24, 2008

« Older beastlies   |   "Merkle's Boner," 100 years later Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments