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Yekaterinburg Rock – Melodic and Poetic Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Culture, Russian song lyrics

Music is a great way to learn a language, but Russian rock music (русский рок) is not well known outside Russia and the surrounding area. People are more likely to know t.A.T.u. or opera singers. This blog has covered Russian rock music before, but there are so many bands (группы) worth checking out that we’ll be revisiting this topic periodically.

Today, I’d like to concentrate on a few bands hailing from the city of Yekaterinburg (Екатеринбург), formerly known as Sverdlovsk (Свердловск), in the Urals. Many bands emerged within the Sverdlovsk Rock Club (Свердловский рок-клуб), and some of them rose to nation-wide fame and are still around today.

The Sverdlovsk Club consisted of student bands, who started by imitating the sound of popular Western bands like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. They then evolved to compose original pieces, known for their harmonies and profound lyrics.

A good website that presents the biographies, lyrics, and chords of many Russian bands is russmus.net. So rather than talk about the bands’ history, I would like to post a song for each band and point out some interesting vocabulary in the lyrics. I’ll post a link to their bio so you can read it at your leisure.

Смысловые галлюцинации

Очнулся один в крови,
Ночью, ещё до рассвета,
Меня пытались убить,
Угрожали мне пистолетом.
Возможно, всё было не так,
Но это уже не важно,
У меня ещё есть коньяк,
И почти не грозит опасность.

Припев (Chorus):
Всё в порядке, всё нормально,
Я беру тебя с собой,
Я беру тебя с собой
В тёмный омут головой.

За дверью ждёт тишина,
Доведённая до отчаяния,
Вижу в небе свои глаза,
Хочу сохранить состояние.
Выхожу, меня уже ждут,
Держусь, чтобы не побежать,
Ведь только покажешь спину,
Сразу начинают стрелять.

Припев.
очнуться – to awaken/regain consciousness
угрожать кому? (dative) чем? (instrumental) – to threaten someone with something
грозить – more or less the same, but this is about more abstract consequences like опасность (danger)
омут – whirlpool/deep. A proverb goes в тихом омуте черти водятся — still waters run deep
головой – with your head; here, “head first”
отчаяние – despair

More songs, lyrics, and tabs are available at http://russmus.net/band/28/.

Чайф

От старых друзей весточки нет, грустно.
 А на душе от свежих газет пусто.
 И от несвежих – невелика потеха.
 Правда, вот был армейский дружок – уехал.
Ой-йо…
Запил сосед – у них на фабрике стачка.
 С чаем беда – осталась одна пачка.
 На кухне записка: "Не жди, останусь у Гали".
 По телеку рядятся, как дальше жить – достали.
Скорей бы лёд встал. Пошёл бы тогда на рыбалку.
 Чего бы поймал – знакомым раздал, не жалко.
 Луна появилась и лезет настырно всё выше и выше.
 Сейчас со всей мoчи завою с тоски – никто не услышит.

весть/весточка от кого? (genitive) – news from someone, as in someone got in touch
невелика потеха – not too much fun (a little antiquated)
запить – to start (binge) drinking
стачка – a labor strike
рядиться – to argue, haggle
достать – here: make someone sick
телек – (slang) телевизор
со всей мочи – with all my might. Careful with the word stress – моча is urine!
раздавать, раздать кому? (dative) – give away, distribute

Read more about this band at http://russmus.net/band/110/.

Наутилус Помпилиус

Когда умолкнут все песни,
 Которых я не знаю,
 В терпком воздухе крикнет
 Последний мой бумажный пароход.
Good-bye Америка, о,
 Где я не был никогда.
 Прощай навсегда.
 Возьми банджо,
 Сыграй мне на прощанье.
Мне стали слишком малы
 Твои тёртые джинсы.
 Нас так долго учили
 Любить твои запретные плоды.
Good-bye Америка, о,
 Где я не буду никогда.
 Услышу ли песню,
 Которую запомню навсегда.

умолкнуть – to grow silent
на прощанье – at parting
запретный плод – forbidden fruit; the saying goes запретный плод сладок
тёртые
, normally потёртые джинсы – worn/shabby jeans

This song was featured in the movie Брат 2. The band in general enjoyed a cult following in Russia. Read more about Nautilus Pompilius here: http://russmus.net/band/18/

Do you have favorites among Russian bands? Do you use song lyrics to remember certain vocabulary or grammar structures? I try to do that for the languages I’m learning. I’m curious to hear about your experience with Russian music.

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available on her translation site and on Twitter at @intorussian.


Comments:

  1. Duffy Laudick:

    I love industrial music, which has lead me to 2 of my favorite Russian bands, Xe-None and Mordor. Xe-None sings both in English and Russian and Mordor is Russian only. I am friends with some of the members of each band on Facebook and Twitter.

    • Maria:

      @Duffy Laudick Duffy, interesting! I’ll be sure to check them out. There are many bands that emerged recently, so it’s always exciting to find new favorites. I listen to nashe.ru to keep up with Russian rock music.

  2. Corentin:

    One of the best known Russian rock band is Люмен, which one of my Russian friend introduced me to. They have some great songs.
    As I’m more into hardrock/metal, I also like others bands like:
    – Ария : one of the oldest heavy metal band in Russia, a bit like Metallica
    – Аркона : a pagan metal band which I’ve seen in concert
    – Грай : a recent discovery for me, it is a folk/metal band
    (I advice you to listen to this one :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yicTUvDVTHA )

    Greetings from Belgium,
    Keep up the good work with those posts !

    • Maria:

      @Corentin Corentin,
      Thanks for your comment. I’ve heard Люмен, Ария, and Аркона before. I really like the folk song “Ой, то не вечер” by Аркона.
      I hadn’t heard of Грай — I’ll check them out!
      Russian rock is such a vast subject that I decided to narrow it down by “school.” More to follow!

  3. Marie France:

    I had the chance to discover russian music with the phenomenal artist Vitas… Now I am trying to discover other kind of music (since I am a great rock fan (I love Metalica) and I love electronic (My favorite band of my life is Depeche Mode)… I thank you for making me discover these bands… they sound really great. Music had been a way for me to discover the russian language too and I have started russian classes. I am a beginner but I really hope I will be able to speak it next year, when I plan to visit Russia! Thank you

    • Maria:

      @Marie France Marie France, glad to hear you liked this kind of music! I appreciate it for its themes and lyrics along with the actual music and for unassuming, down-to-earth musicians.