Vladimir Vysotsky

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   Mariya Shkolnikova


      
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"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."
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» Vysotsky as Hamlet
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Vladimir Vysotsky - "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" - who is he? Why do people come to Vysotsky's grave every year on July 25th, the anniversary of his death?

Admired by all circles of Soviet society, a voice of dissent, but not a dissident, accepted by the Soviet government as an actor, but never as a poet and singer, Vysotsky held no office, no titles. "He was simply a son of his country, he was very Russian. He did play a very political role, because in his songs he came out against evil force, against the ugly system under which he was born" (Mikhail Chemiakin, emigre artist, Vysotsky's close friend).

Note: English version of this page is much shorter (by at least 90%) than the Russian version. Feel free to browse Russian version using the Altavista Online Translate Service at your own risk.

Read Vysotsky's biography
Vysotsky, Vladimir Semyonovich. (b. Jan. 25, 1938, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.1--d. July 24, 19802, Moscow), Russian actor, lyricist, and folksinger whose social and political satire spoke of the ironies and hardships of a strictly regulated Soviet society. While risking official displeasure, he became an immensely popular figure who was revered by the Russian people even after his death... Read more...

Check out translations of Vysotsky's songs
Listen to the songs in Russian, as you read English translations of more than 20 songs from the compact disc "Le Monument", as well as other translations by many Vysotsky admirers.

Vysotsky as Hamlet
When he took on Hamlet, Vysotsky was already well known as a troubadour of spiritual freedom - he was "the living soul and conscience of his time" (Gershkovich, 129), much loved throughout the Soviet Union because his songs spoke truth in the oblique ways typical of heavily censored societies... Read more...

Musical based on Vysotsky's life
A play, dedicated to Vladimir Vysotsky, premiered in London on September 20, 2002. It is based on the the book of the last wife of the poet, Marina Vladi. The play is called "Let us Fly". Read more...

To get more information in English, visit other sites, such as Little Russia.