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Russian Rocks Too (part 3)

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Vladimir Vysotsky
What helped Gradsky in his efforts to make a national rock tradition was a parallel movement of so-called ‘singing poets,’ or singers-songwriters, known in Russia merely as ‘bards.’ This genre developed within the late Nineteen Fifties at the juncture of urban folklore traditions, peasant ballads and therefore the ‘criminal’ folklore brought into the cities by thousands of former prisoners getting back from Stalinist labor camps.

This new trend was created fashionable by such bards as Iuz Aleshkovsky, Bulat Okudzhava, Iurii Vizbor, Iulii Kim, Alexander Gorodnitsky, Evgenii Kliachkin, Novella Matveeva and, most of all, the enormously proficient actor and bard Vladimir Vysotsky. For the primary time throughout the Soviet era, these singers-songwriters created songs that restricted intimate human emotions, the complexities of human relationships and problems with social injustice, honestly evoking ‘the power of the truth’ in an exceedingly easy vernacular typically spiced by regional parts, dialects, criminal jargon and, at times, obscenity. Borrowing from the made national treasure-trove of musical traditions, bards blended music parts drawn from Russian folks song, urban romances, gypsy tradition, classical song, cabaret, jazz and a lot of other genres.

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Golubye Gitary

Under their influence, and within the method of looking for their own musical identity, Gradsky and different bands that were operating in Russian, like the Moscow band Vetry Peremen (The Winds of Changes), moved down the trail of fusing Western rock with musical parts drawn from their own national tradition. Additionally, they were writing basically new lyrics for this new quite music, lyrics that might not solely be understood by their audience, however the lyrics dealt with restricted problems that were near to everyone’s heart.

Once Soviet rock musicians started singing in Russian, establishing rock’s relevance for the national cultural landscape, the ideological watchdogs sensed rock’s subversive power. This signaled the top of the ‘period of innocence,’ when rock musician singing in English were left to their own devices. The growing Soviet rock community found itself underneath increasing pressure from the authorities.

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Poiushchie Gitary

First, the authorities tried to subvert musicians with cash by recognizing them as professionals. Amateur musicians, as well as the bulk of Soviet rock musicians, didn't relish the proper to legally earn cash for his or her performances. They additionally didn't receive any government support with regard to touring, booking and acquiring equipment. Professionals, though, may earn big cash for his or her work, however were subject to terribly serious censorship of all aspects of their work, from their lyrics to their haircuts and outfits to the specifics of their guitar sound and therefore the degree of ‘heaviness’ of their drum beat. These bands were known as Vocal Instrumental Ensembles (Vocal’no Instrumental’nye Ansambli or VIA), and customarily made light-weight pop with solely a awfully minor allusions to rock music. However, several proficient musicians who learned to play as amateurs selected this suggests of earning cash, abandoning with it real rock music, and manufacturing solely a awfully deluded version of it.

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Veselye Rebiata

Although bands like Poiushchie Gitary (Singing Guitars), Veselye Rebiata (The Jolly Lads), Golubye Gitary (Blue Guitars), Ariel, Samotsvety (The Semi-Precious Stones), Plamia (The Flame) were currently making a parody of the rock they used to play, they became quite fashionable among blue-collar kids in Russia, likewise as elsewhere within the Soviet Union.

Amateur bands that didn't wish to sell out found it increasingly troublesome to secure house for rehearsals and venues during which to perform. Several of the rock musicians were invited into the offices of the KGB equipment chargeable for ‘curating’ youth music, and were suggested to tone down the social criticism in their lyrics, to reduce the volume of their amplifiers and to purge their music of any spiritual overtones.

The finish of the primary amount of rock music coincided with a significant modification within the ideological climate of the country when the cultural ‘thaw’ ushered in by Khrushchev came to an end in 1964 together with his dismissal because the leader of the Soviet Union. The rather more conservative and cautious new General Secretary of the Communist Party, Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled till 1982, is remembered for making within the Soviet Union an environment of cultural and economic stagnation, a amount freed from brutal Stalinist excesses, however a amount additionally of tight ideological management over all aspects of Soviet life. This was a amount of the intensification of anti-Western propaganda, the escalation of the Cold War, and of a severe clamp down on the political dissenters, artists and musicians who deviated from the Party line. For kids the Brezhnev era, that spanned the complete Nineteen Seventies, was marked by a tragic isolation from their Western peers and by a hopeless feeling of boredom.

( be continued)