The first Russian music I ever heard was Kino, and I adored it immediately. See, Russian music has a very special place in my heart because it was what I used to teach myself Russian. I would find songs on the internet, find the lyrics for them, translate things word by word, memorize them and learn the grammar inductively. Because I memorize music really easily, I also, through music, started to memorize Russian as I sang along to these songs.
To this day I listen to Russian music while I commute to work. It’s a great way to keep up on your Russian, expand your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation even when you don’t necessarily have the time or acquaintances to practice speaking with.
So that’s going to be my theme for the next couple weeks: Russian music. And, by the way, now that I’m teaching and getting everything ready for graduation I will only have time to do two or three posts a week. But that will give you plenty of time to listen to the songs and fall in love with them before I dump another one on you.
Since I’ve already done a blog post on the actual first Russian song I ever heard, which was Просто хочешь ты знать, by Kino, I’ll choose another interesting song that reflects this era of Russian history in a very interesting way. In the post linked above you can learn a little bit more about the lead singer of Kino, Viktor Tsoy, who, like many brilliant musicians, died before his time. Kino is one of the most beloved rock groups in Russia.
Cultural/Historical Themes of this song:
A common theme you see in Tsoy’s music that was very much a reflection of the frustrations of that generation (1980’s, early 90’s) is that of idleness and helplessness. This generation was growing more and more frustrated with communism and was craving more knowledge about the West. In this song, the Trolleybus is symbolic of a government that is taking them to the east, meaning further away from where they want to go, but everyone just sits on the trolleybus helplessly, not having a say in anything.
The lyrics in Russian and English are below the video:
An interesting grammar note:
In Russian your ‘to go’ verbs require you make the distinction of whether you’re going by vehicle ехать/ездить or by foot идти/ходить. And I was actually just discussing this with one of my classes last week. Why do you say, “Машина едет” (the by vehicle verb) but a trolleybus, as you see in this song, идет (to go by foot). Good question, right? The answer: vehicles of public transport, троллейбус, автобус, трамвай, поезд go by foot and cars and taxis go by vehicle. But I still have yet to answer the question about how a маршрутка goes.
Anyway, enjoy the song. If you just type into a search engine, “Троллейбус Кино mp3” You should be able to find a website where you can download it. Beware of viruses, of course.