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HOME: Russian / Ukrainian Culture: Ethnic Russian Music

Traditional Russian Folk Music

 

The tradition of Russian folk music has a long history dating back to the early Slavic tribes who settled in present day Russia. For an eternity the music remained true to its definition, an art form performed by peasant folk, closely linked to village life, customs and celebrations.

 

See also: Ukrainian Folk Songs

 

It has only been recent history when folk music has seen a significant evolution. Starting in the 19th century, professional folk choirs and folkloric ensembles started to emerge. While their works were based on traditional Russian folk music, they became more and more academic in terms of their performance style and material. Today some critics even call modern folk music "fakeloric", arguing that contemporary Russian folk music has lost its authenticity.

 

Rather than get into an academic debate on what constitutes "authentic" folk music and what doesn't, we've simply provided a few of the famous ethnic Russian songs that remain eternal from generation to generation. As well, we've provided a few examples of a modern Russian folk performers. Perhaps more correctly referred to as bard singers, you can also argue that that their music has been heavily influenced by the tradition of Russian folk music.

 

 

Traditional Russian Folk Songs

 

 

Калинка (Kalinka - Snow Berry or Guelder Rose) - Red Army Choir

Purchase CD

 

Song was adopted by Chelsea football fans thanks to Roman Abramovich

 

 

Катюша (Katyusha) - sung by group "Chelsea"

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popular May 9 Victory Day song

 

 

Дорогой длинною (By The Long Road) - sung by Manca Izmajlova

Purchase CD

 

 

Уральская рябинушка (Ural Rowan Tree) - sung by Nadezhda Kadysheva

Purchase CD

 

 

Очаровательные глазки (Charming Eyes) - sung by Guzel Izmailov

Purchase CD

 

 

Очи чёрные (Dark Eyes) - Red Army Choir

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Подмосковные вечера (Moscow Nights) - Helmut Lotti (eng), Vladimir Troshin (ru)

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Вечерний звон (Evening Bells) - sung by Zaur Tutov

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Modern Russian Folk Groups / Performers

 

 

Сергей Никитин (Sergey Nikitin) - Я спросил у ясеня (I Asked the Ash Tree)

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from the film "The Irony of Fate" (1975)

 

 

Любэ (Lyube) - Позови меня тихо по имени (Call Me Quietly by Name)

Purchase CD / download mp3

 

More about Lyube

 

 

Мельница (Melnitsa) - Господин Горных Дорог (The Master of Mountain Roads)

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