Friday, December 3, 2010

Vladimir Vysotsky - Russian Bard

Years ago, I heard some music, probably in a film. There was a Russian song in it, with a rough, gravelly voice singing with passion and intensity, two very similarly sounding, but very different things. Then I heard that voice from time to time and finally, after I had watched a movie with a song in it I knew had to be by the say singer, I watched for who he was: Vladimir Vysotsky. So, I asked about him to people and after a few attempts, someone knew who he was and said he was a dissident, almost underground singer in the Soviet Union, that was greatly loved by the people.  I found he was called, "the most famous Russian bard", "the greatest Russian bard of the second half of the 20-th century", "voice for the heart of a nation".

I found that fascinating. To be who he was, in that culture. I knew that had to mean hard times, for anyone like that. I had read The Gulag Archipelago (Solzhenitsyn) and I had an image of USSR that was both mysterious and fearful. How could one then, not respect someone such as Vysotsky?

In Vysotsky's own words:

"I'd like to say a few words about these songs of mine. Many years ago, I was with my closest friends. From my various travels I have brought back for them... well, impressions, impressions in verse set to a sort of rhythm. So I took my guitar in hand and began to strum away. And what emerged was something like a song. But it was not a song. It was, the way I see it, poetry recited with musical accompaniment. In short, poetry set to rhythm. I remember the atmosphere then. It was the atmosphere of trust and unconstrained freedom, and, what's more important, friendship." -  V. Vysotsky

 I have had days when I just felt it was a "Vysotsky" kind of day, and put his music on. I've been doing that for years, never knowing what the hell he was singing about. Until recently, when I started looking him up on the internet. There are just times when there is nothing to do it, but the right sound. He has pulled me out of the feelings of oppression, and has raised me up to be ready to drink vodka and party all night long. 

And apparently, I'm not the only one in the world that feels that way.

For more:
Vladimir Vysotsky

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