Feb 152009


I learned about the Soviet-era song, “We the Children of the Galaxy” from EnglishRussia. With some trouble (because I didn’t know a Russian word for “lyrics”) I found lyrics, too, at nomorelyrics.net. I like it — a good song for language-learning. The above is from YouTube. I think it’s the same as on EnglishRussia.

The singer, Lev Leshchenko, has a good voice. I looked around to see what other songs of his I might like to put on my MP3 player to learn with. There are a lot of YouTube clips of him, from many years worth of singing, it looks like, but so far I haven’t found anything else I care to listen to all the way through.

English Russia also has two other versions of the song. I didn’t find a YouTube clip for the 2nd one, but it’s not to be missed. I was speechless upon seeing it, but not noiseless. I hope everyone was having a good time with it, but I’m not sure what kind of a good time it might have been.

The 3rd one is by the same artist as the YouTube version above. The style of singing made me wonder if Vladimir Vysotsky had ever done this song, and how he would have done it. Maybe it wasn’t the right kind of subject matter for him.

Jul 232008

No Russian movies tonight. I’m busy getting ready for some Spokesrider bike rides. I did spend some time with the Russian language, though, starting with one of Viktor D. Huliganov’s lessons.

Then, while working on my maps I listened to YouTube music, and then stumbled upon this song, which I recognize from the movie Obyknovennoye chudo. It’ll be handy having it here so I can learn the words.

And I see that Nastya Kamenskih is in on this kind of music, too. I was somewhat surprised to see her on this stage. I learned about her some months ago when doing a YouTube search for Fabrika Zvezd. Most of the music from Fabrika Zvezd doesn’t bear much repeated listening for me, but the “Ne para” that she did with Potap is one that wears well. She has a good voice, and it seems she and Potap enjoyed working together on stage. It was fun to watch the two respond to each other. I’ve also seen several more recent YouTube clips of her singing with the guy that appears with her in the above clip. (I’ve seen his name, but don’t remember it.) The songs those two do together doesn’t seem to work quite as well. Below is the one she did with Potap on Fabrika Zvezd. I don’t know that they ever topped it — at least not on YouTube.

I see I’ve wondered a long way from Ostrov — from Pyotr Mananov to Dmitri Dyushev to Tamara Gverdtsiteli to Nastya Kamenskih.

Hmmm. I still haven’t worked with my vocabulary flash cards tonight. Better go and do my quota for the evening.

Apr 132008

When I used to teach a pre-confirmation class at our church, it seemed that young people (and old) wouldn’t easily buy Martin Luther’s words of explanation to the First Commandment: “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” Young people wouldn’t say much, but older ones would.

People think fear is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. There are any number of cliches that put fear in the same category with ignorance, superstition, and intolerance. (It was a discussion of Barak Obama’s bigotted remarks about bitter people and their religion and guns that got me thinking about it.) Somehow people don’t think it’s right that we should fear God.

It so happens I was just looking looking at the words of the famous Russian love song, “Dark Eyes,” trying to memorize it for language-learning purposes. I noticed that it talks about fear in a way that indicates a relationship that is perhaps complicated, but not a bad one.

Here’s a transliteration of the first verse, sort of from Wikipedia:

Ochi chyornye ochi strastnye
Ochi zhguchiye i prekrasniye
Kak lyublyu ya vas kak boyus ya vas
Znat’ uvidyel vas ya v nedobryii chas

And here is an English translation, from the same source:

Dark eyes, passionate eyes
Burning and splendid eyes
How I love you, how I fear you
For sure, I espied you in an ill-starred moment

You can hear the song on a whole bunch of utube clips, most of which don’t do it well. Perhaps it’s because it’s too familiar to most listeners. The best sung one I’ve found so far is a music video that’s slightly raunchy and violent. Maybe the video is of scenes from a movie. I’m not sure, but I think the singing is good. When the Red Army Chorus and most other groups do it, it’s too ponderous. Maybe famous singers who are too full of themselves shouldn’t be allowed to sing it.

I don’t think I’d play the one linked to above at church, though, if I want to make the point that fear can be part of a healthy relationship. I’ll keep looking.

And in case anyone is wondering, I don’t think the word for afraid (boyus) means anything very different from what we usually mean in English. As far as I know, it can have the same complicated meanings in Russian as in English. It’s the very same word I hear in wartime movies where someone might hear the the sound of distant guns and say, “I’m afraid.”