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Belarusian folk songs: History and description

Jadwiga Poplavskaja and Alexander Tikhanovich. In the Month of September

In the Month of September is the most colourful folk song, where the lines " grandfather pushed grandmother from the bridge into the river" exist. It makes us smile now. But a few centuries ago the drowning of an unloved woman was a real tradition in Polesie.

By the way, researchers are sure that this song was written by a professional author  because of its excellent rhyme and exciting story. In turn, Vladimir Mulyavin gave the song the completely new features in 1977.

Inna Afanasyeva. A Man Plows a Field

The comic song called A Man Plows a Field has always attracted the attention of musicians. Pesnyary ensemble performed this song from 1974 with all the sincerity and cheerfulness. Due to this, the song got a second wind. Today it is accepted warmly by urban population and also performed by modern singers with a great pleasure.

Aliona Lanskaya and all the participants of the concert. Why Should I Not Sing?

Belarusians usually sing Why Should I Not Sing? song during feasts. This song is a small saga about a cozy house, in which everything is going so fine that everyone wants to dance. The age of the song is difficult to calculate now. Belarusians sang it even in times of the Russian Empire.

In 1956, the song was performed by People's Artist of the BSSR Claudia Kudrashova in the Moscow Bolshoi Theater for the delegates of the XX Congress of the CPSU.

Viktoria Aleshko. Blacksmith

“Mother, send the blacksmith away,  because the young blacksmith wants to spend the night here.” This text of the comic folk song was written down in Hoiniki district. The text describes the popular notion of the so-called divine skill of the blacksmith. He was capable of creating life the same way as the God. Therefore, a strong and brave blacksmith has always been the most popular and attractive man in Belarusian folklore. Songs about this character are still popular and are performed with great pleasure by women.

Natalia Tamela. Kupalinka

People sing this song during feasts and holidays. Belarusian musicians also include this popular hit in their touring program. We used to think that is a folk song.

However, the modern version of the song is a work of Mikhas’ Charot, who polished the folk lyrics for the play called On Midsummer.

Vladimir Tsyaravskiy, a Belarusian composer, conductor and folklorist, wrote music for the verses. Now we enjoy the results of the work of two great figures of Belarusian art.

Anastasia Tikhanovich. Our Green Forest

A remarkable folk song Our Green Forest was performed during harvesting. It praises the richness, beauty, and generosity of nature. This unique song was written down in one of the Vitebsk region villages in 1968. Today, this song has found new life and sounds thanks to talented performers.

Olga Gornich. Rechenka

Rechenka is an authentic folk song which is loved by many Belarusian people. Its initial version has practically lost. Today the song is better known in the arrangements of various artists and bands. For example, in 1970, Pesnyary ensemble presented to the audience their own version of the folk song. A few decades later, Rechenka song appeared on the debut album of Natalia Podolskaya, the Russian singer of Belarusian origin.

Over the years, the unique song was performed by Ivan Kirchuk, Irina Dorofeeva, Inna Afanasyeva and other talented singers.

Alexey Khlestov and Veronika Pushnova. Dziva-Dziva

Our ancestors had a unique tradition of leaving the last piece of the field unfarmed. It was called a "beard". People believed that the soul of the field lived in the “beard”. For example, people from Polotsk region glorified the “beard” with national hit Dziva-Dziva. Today, the song has found a new colourful sound thanks to the contemporary pop arrangement.

Belarusian state ensemble Pesnyary. Oi Rana Na Ivana

Large companies of people sang the song called Oi Rana Na Ivana during the celebration of Ivan Kupala holiday, which roughly corresponds to western Midsummer. Its authorship was attributed to Ukrainians, because their musical heritage also includes this song. However, linguists proved that the Belarusian variant had appeared before the Ukrainian one. Today Oi Rana Na Ivana song has got the people's love thanks to the skillful handling of Vladimir Mulyavin.

Folk band Nerush. In The Field

The unique folk motives are expressed through this song. Today it is almost identical to the folk songs thanks to the skills of Konstantin Poplavskiy.

The honored art worker of BSSR, renowned conductor and folklorist founded the State Academic Folk Choir at the beginning of the 1950s. In The Field song was written for this choir performance and still continues sounding from the stage.

International School Ensemble (children from different countries). Larks, Fly Back

Spring Meeting is the ancient holiday of farewell to the winter and welcoming the spring. People chased away the winter and called the spring with the help of singing and dancing. Larks, Fly Back song is the main symbol of this unique holiday. By the way, this ceremonial song was included in the repertoire of Pesnyary ensemble in 1979. Later, the talented composer Vladimir Tkachenko gave a new life to the song. A bright, springtime folk song also sounds nowadays.

Hvilinka ensemble. Ulyanitsa Sowed Flax

The folk song called Ulyanitsa Sowed Flax was written down in the middle of the 20th century in one of the villages of the Mogilev region. The most interesting fact that this work was dedicated to the famous communist Ulyana (Ulyanitsa) Makhanenka. She grew the flax from a young age. Ulyana was awarded the medal For Labour Valor for the high rate and good harvest at the end of the 1930s. Now, the song that glorified this wonderful woman sounds from a big stage.

Gamonka band, Gomel region

There are many institutions that work every day to save the unique song heritage in every region of Belarus. Also, there are many bands which have Belarusian folk songs in their repertoire.

Gudski Garmonic band, Lida district, Grodno region

Neman song culture is a huge part of the traditional culture of Belarus, which has its own characteristics and unique flavor. The repertoire of some of the Grodno District folk bands has both Belarusian and Polish tradition folk songs.

Tserntsa ensemble. Cossack Wedding

There are two “cultural islands” in Gomel Region of Belarus called Polesie and Dnieper. The song style of these regions has its own distinct characteristics. Lyrical songs with the Cossack theme are widely distributed in Polesie region.

Belarusian folk songs