Each month the SRAS newsletter features Russia's current charts for pop, rock, and R&B! Youtube videos of the hit songs are included, as are new, monthly additions to this page.
Modern Russian Music
Classic Rock, Modern Pop, Punk, and More!
another great project of The School of Russian and Asian Studies
The following Library entry is meant to quickly introduce you to the modern Russian music scene. We provide this information with the following warning: music is not known for always being grammatically or politically correct. If you are easily offended avoid the genres that will likely offend you. At the top of each listing, there are three links - 1) the band's (or a fan) site, 2) a streaming audio sample, and 3) an online record store with delivery in America.
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Table of Contents:
- Contemporary Pop
Color Code: Red links are to sites only in Russian.
Gray links have English available.
What is "The Library?"
Pop Soloists report an error back to top
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Tanya Tereshina Sample Hit: Обломки чувств
As a child, Tanya Tereshina studied art, music and ballet classes, and also sang in children’s band as a soloist. After graduating from Smolensk institute, Tanya moved to Moscow, became a model, and began traveling the world. She "accidently" attended casting in 2003 for the pop group Hi-Fi, was immediately accepted. Later she left the band and her first solo single came out in 2007. Tanya designs most of her own clothes and costumes and is planning to release her own clothing line after finishing her next music album.
Lolita Sample Hit: Ты похудела
Lolita (Milyavskaya) was born in Western Ukraine. Her mother sang in a jazz band and her father was the band’s producer and MC. Lolita’s music career started when she first joined her parents’ performances on the stage when she was only 8 years old, and continued with various back-vocal summer jobs all through school years. After graduating from college with a degree in stage direction, she became well-known in the early 90s as a part of The Humorous Cabaret-Duet Akademia together with her then-husband Alexander Tsekalo. In her career, she has been a singer, composer, producer, TV host, comedian, and an actress in the theater and movies. In 1999, she received a special nomination of for the Ovation Award (a Russian equivalent of the Grammy) as the most diversified stage persona.
Lena Katina Sample Hit: Never Forget Store
Lena Katina has already earned herself a spot in today’s music history as the redhead vocalist from the scandalously famous pop sensation t.A.T.u. Today, after having earned acclaim for the past decade with her band, Lena announces the launch of her solo career and “keeps the horizon high”.
Boy Bands report an error back to top
Korni Sample Hit: 25 этаж Store
When on December, 26th, 2002 they were declared winners of the first "Star Factory" series, the Olympic Center in Moscow shuddered with the enthusiastic squeal of several thousand girls. Defying critics who claimed they would not outlast their TV fame, Korni is still a staple on Russian radio, and will likely be around for a long time to come.
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Otpetye Moshenniki Sample Hit: Лето-это Store
"Incorrigible Rascals" are the bad boys of Russian boy bands. Their music and has been described as a "cultural mess" and "little criminal-chaos ditties." They mix rap with traditional Russian folk into hot stage performances. They have built an image of themselves as cultured hooligans who are not only street-savvy, but industry savvy. They must be, as they've been promoting scandal in the music biz since 1996.
Prime Minister Sample Hit: Девочка с севера Store
Born of successful pop producer Evgeniya Fridlyanda, this 5-member squeaky-clean band (known for wearing all-white suits at concerts) has gone through several replacement singers. However, they remain very popular, perhaps because they have retained one of Russia's best sound engineers, Kim Breidburg, and one of its most successful song writers, Konstantin Arcenev, both of whom work with many other pop singers and groups.
Girl Bands report an error back to top
t.A.T.u Sample Hit: Я сошла с ума Store
t.A.T.u is one Russian group many Americans recognize. The young duo was marketed as a lesbian couple while they themselves denied it - and regularly French-kissed onstage. They quickly became international stars. Later, on Russian television, they announced the relationship was a marketing strategy devised by former manager Ivan Shapovalov - and since have announced they are bi-sexual. The above song ran on American radio as "All the Things She Said."
Fabrika Sample Hit: Не виноватая я Store
Russia has more than 141,000 industrial enterprises and an industrial workforce of about 16,000,000. "Fabrika," or "Factory" in Russian, sports only 3 young ladies. "We make songs in our Factory," say the girls. Critics would agree the songs are factory-pressed, but they are a lot of fun and good for a night on the dance floor. Fabrika's name hearkens back to the band's beginnings on Fabrika Zvezd, where they first appeared in 2003.
Serebro Sample Hit: Скажи, не молчи Store
Serebro was formed in 2006 by well-known Russian producer Maxim Fadeev. The girl group became famous shortly thereafter after taking part in the Eurovision song contest which made them well-know both within Russia and across Europe. Group member Olga Seryabkina writes some of the group’s songs and has even written songs for other artists and groups such as Yulia Savicheva.
The composer Shostakovich
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Contemporary Pop report an error back to top
5ivesta Family Sample Hit: Зачем Store
The group has been together for three years and has had many hits on Russian pop radio and music videos on MTV. They’ve toured around Russia since their group first formed and recently started touring internationally. After playing a show in Israel in April 2010, the group was detained by Israeli airport security for over two hours, apparently because singer Valera’s broken iPhone aroused suspicion. Despite the incident, the group says it will not deter them from touring internationally or from returning to Israel, where they have many fans.
Infinity Sample Hit: Где ты? Store
The couple Tatyana Bondarenko and Aleksei Kutuzov formed Infinity in 2007. Singer Tatyana writes almost all of the music and lyrics, while Aleksei takes charge of the music's arrangement and production. Even though Infinity is fairly new to the Russian pop scene, they were already nominated for a 'Golden Gramophone' award (the Russian equivalent of a Grammy) in 2008 for their first hit song, "Gde Tyi?" ("Where Are You?") Their song "Zamechtalas" ("I Fell into a Reverie") also hit number-one on the 'Golden Gramophone' Hit Chart.
Band'Eros Sample Hit: Не вспоминай Store
Band'Eros is a high-energy pop/hip-hop group which formed in Moscow in 2005. Despite the group's name and previous hits such as "Boom Senorita," Band'eros doesn’t do any singing in Spanish, although they sometimes inject Latin-style beats into their songs. The name is ironic, calling to mind both the Spanish outlaws, and calling themselves essentially a band of lovers after Eros, the Greek god of love. The group does seem to take some of its influence from American music and often scatters American pop-culture references into its songs, as evidenced by their hit "Columbia Pictures Ne Predstavlyait" ("Columbia Pictures Doesn't Present") which, among other things, references Hollywood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Beverly Hills while members of the group are dressed up like Superman and Marilyn Monroe in its music video. It's also the title track off of their debut album which has gone platinum by selling over 200,000 copies.
Dance/House/Techno report an error back to top
For more info see: HousePlanet.ru
Delphin Sample Hit: Любовь Store
Delphin dives into ordinary life and brings up pure human pleasure and grief. His music is highly experimental in both melodies and lyrics and is sometimes described as "dreams given the power to converse." Compare the rawness of the better known hit listed above with lonely lyricalness of "Vesna," which appears on the same album.
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Russkii razmer Sample Hit: Юаю Store
This party band named after a vodka brand dishes up true house music. Two of its members, Viktor Bondaryuk and Dmitrii Kopotilov, were born in Kazakhstan. The third, the glamorous Eleonora Markova, is a St. Petersburg native. They have been known for music since 1993, though more recently they've been known for scandal and in-fighting, as members have split and fought over the rights to the band's name.
Ruki vverkh Sample Hit: Наташа Store
Sergei Zhukov and Alexei Potekhin met in 1993 in the Russian city of Samara. By 1996, they had developed a unique sound blending high-energy electronic riffs, sampling, and various world music influences. Their name "Ruki Vverkh" is the common-place call of DJs for dancers to "get their hands in the air." Their music is so well known for its energy that the sportswear company Adidas once employed them as official spokesmen. Known for love songs, they often blur the line between boy band and techno.
Car-Man Sample Hit: Сан-Франциско Store
Bogdan Titomir and Sergey Lemokh first defined their group as an "exotic-pop-duet." It first appeared on Russian TV in the spring of 1990, and by the end of the year was named as The Band of the Year and the Discovery of the Year by the newspaper Moskovski Komsomolets. The “traveling” theme of the group’s name was reflected in their first album "Vokrug sveta" ("Around the World") , reissued in 1994 and 2009) with every song related to a different city or a country: "London Good-bye," "Paris," "Chio-Chio-San." In 1991 Bogdan Titomir left the group to work on his solo career, but the Lemokh continued on and became a symbol of the new highly-energetic dance movement of the 90s.
DJ Smash Sample Hit: Между небом и землей (Remix) Store
Real name Andrei Shirman, DJ Smash spent his childhood years in the recording studio watching his father, who was a professional musician. He claims to have gotten his stage name from opening a Russian-English dictionary and picking random words until he found something he liked. By remixing retro 80s hits with a techno-house flavor, DJ Smash has created his own style of dance music he calls "retrohouse."
DJ Leonid Rudenko Sample Hit: Утренная гимнастика Store
The 23-year old Muscovite is a DJ famous for his dance remixes but doesn't like it when his music is labeled as "electronic." "I have a problem with the term 'electronic music' – nowadays, electronic musical instruments and technology are used in almost every recording in all different genres of music. My compositions are pop songs in a dance format," he explains. His hit, "Utrennaya Gimnastika" ("Morning Exercises"), is an unlikely dance remix of a song originally written and sung by 1960s Russian bard Vladimir Vysotsky.
DJ M.E.G. Sample Hit: Только ты
Eduard Magayev, aka DJ M.E.G., first started out in the music scene not as a DJ, but as a member of a breakdancing team called Ice Beat and was a participant on the reality show, "Stars of the Dance Floor." Now, as a member of the production company Black Star, Inc., he collaborates with other well-know musicians from the Russian rap and hip-hop scene, including Timati and B.K., and plays shows not only in Moscow, but all over the world.
T-moor (Timur) Rodriguez Sample Hit: Out in Space Store
Born in Penza to a family of a puppeteer and a translator, T-moor Rodriguez had leading roles in school puppet theater productions and was very active in clubs while in school (gymnastics, choir, and even knitting). His reputation as DJ was also began while still in school. After moving to Moscow, he became famous as a TV host for many popular music shows and as one of the participants of the popular TV show Comedy Club. His official singing career began in 2010.
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Bards report an error back to top
For more info see: Bards.ru
Bards were (mostly) late Soviet dissidents. They sang poetic songs they themselves had written, usually to the accompaniment of a single musical instrument they played themselves. They remain popular even with listeners born after the bards themselves had died.
SRAS thanks Brian Horne for writing and contributing much of this section. Brian is a former SRAS student now studying the bards at the University of Chicago as a dissertation subject.
Aleksandr Galich Sample hit: Когда я вернусь Store
Born Alexander Ginzburg (Galich is actually a pseudonym composed from his last name, first name, and patronymic: Ginzburg + ALeksander + ArkadievICH), this bard also worked as a poet, screenwriter and playwright in the 1950s and 60s. His songs explored subjects ranging from everyday life to war and concentration camps, and drew great official criticism. When he loudly expelled from the Soviet Writer's Union in the 70s, this non-compliance and his "Jewishness" were sited as reasons (which was one reason that he invented and used the pseudonym in the first place). He was eventually forced to emigrate from the USSR in 1974 and died in France not long thereafter.
Vladimir Vysotsky Sample hit: Банька по-белому Store
An acclaimed stage, television, and film actor, Vysotsky was already a celebrity before he took up the guitar and sang his poetry with a remarkably distinctive, rough, and passionate voice that many singers still imitate. He composed over 600 songs, and achieved a lasting fame in Russia comparable to that of the Beatles or Elvis in the West. When Vysotsky died of heart failure in 1980 while Moscow was hosting the Olympic Games, thousands left the stadiums to pay their respects at his funeral at the Taganka Theatre, where he had frequently performed (later estimates place the number at over one million). Every year, on July 25th, the day Vystosky died, large crowds still gather at his grave in Vagankovskoye Cemetery and at his statue near Pushkinskaya metro to sing his songs and remember his life.
Aleksandr Rozenbaum Sample hit: Гоп-Стоп Store
A graduate of Pavlov Medical School, Rozenbaum began writing songs for student plays in the late 60s. His professional musical career began in the early 1980s, writing songs for rock groups under the pen-name "Ayarov" (largely because the name "Rozenbaum" marked him as Jewish and thus negatively influenced his career). Many of his songs are written in the style of so-called "criminal songs" (блатные песни), such as the hit above, a comedic song about two gangsters.
Paperny T.A.M. Sample hit: Пых-пых-пых Store
This modern day, multimember band is generally recognized as carrying on the bardic traditions. Their lyrics are narrative and figurative (like the bards' often were) and the lead singer's vocal style is obviously heavily influenced by his predecessors'. The band also draws on Rock, Reggae, and Cuban music influences. They are also worth mentioning as they are the founders of Jao Da, one of Moscow's most successful music clubs.
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Igor Rasteriaev Sample hit: Комбайнеры
Igor Rasteriaev, an actor of stage and screen, slowly became popular as a musician after placing a cell-phone-recorded video of his anti-glamour song “Combiners” (open “See more” and scroll down for English translation of the text). In the first 6 months it was viewed only 300 times. The video went viral in August 2010 with 300,000 views in 4 days. It became one of the most viewed Russian videos of 2010 with over 1.5 million views by the beginning of 2011. This and Igor’s other songs, which he usually sings to the accompaniment of his accordion, have now been viewed over 5 million times. All of his songs are about simple people of the “Motherland Russia” and are loved even in the most remote areas of the country. According to the Russian news portal KM, “for the first time in Russia mass popularity was gained by someone singing about the Motherland.” His first album “Russian Road” came out in 2011 and is available for free download on his personal site.
Kirill Komarov Sample hit: Дым Store
Kirill Komarov started writing and translating poetry in college. In 1984 he started writing lyrics for the rock band Присутствие/Prisutstvie (Presence), one of the main bands of Leningrad Rock Club. After leaving the band in 1987, Kirill Komarov started his solo career performing his own songs and touring through central Russia as an acoustic guitarist and singer. He experimented with many different musical styles, from rhythm-n-blues to hard-rock, participated in several bands, recorded several albums, acoustic as well as electric, playing concerts solo as well as with other musicians and bands. He is well known for his meaningful texts and unique style of each song.
Venya D’rkin Sample hit: Кошка
Venya D’rkin (real name Alexander Litvinov) was a Russian bard, poet, singer and writer of fairy tales. He started writing poetry at the age of 7, he learned to play guitar at 12, and founded a school band at 14. When registering for his first music festival he took the pseudonym Venya Dyrkin. After receiving one of the festival’s awards, he became known under this name. He wrote over three hundred songs, only half of which were ever recorded. As usual in the bard genre, the songs bear deep and imaginative lyrics, but, less common for bardic songs, are also very melodic. During the late 90's, he performed some of his songs with the accompaniment of other musicians, notably violinist Veronica Belyayeva. Although Venya died in 1999 (cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma), his music is still gaining more acknowledgement as time passes. This can be attributed to the fact that before Venya's death, just two of his albums were released, and even those were distributed in very small runs. He also never played in front of a large audience; most of his public performances were in music festivals and small, private concerts.
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Alexander Bashlachev Sample hit: Песня ржавой воды Store
Alexander Bashlachev was a Russian poet, singer-songwriter, and guitarist. He studied journalism at the Ural State University in Sverdlovsk. In May 1984, Bashlachev attended the Leningrad Rock Festival in Leningrad. There, he bought an acoustic guitar which he had taught himself to play. In September, he played some of his songs at his friend's apartment in Leningrad and later became a regular in the "apartment concert" scene in Moscow and Leningrad. Apartment concerts were small, private concerts that took place "under the radar" of the Soviet censors. These gatherings were called "kvartirniki" (unofficial home concert; from "kvartira" – apartment). Bashlachev died at the age of 27 after falling from the window of a ninth-floor apartment in Leningrad. The most likely cause of his death was suicide; however there is uncertainty in that claim.
Veronika Dolina Sample hit: А хочешь я выучусь шить Store
Veronika Dolina is a Soviet and Russian poet, bard, and songwriter. She was born in Moscow, graduated from the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute as a French language teacher. Dolina started to write songs and perform them in 1971 at the age of 15 and in a few years became an active member of the Moscow bard scene. She wrote the lyrics for most of her songs, but she also has songs that set the poems of Yunna Morits to music, as well as some songs that were written in cooperation with Alexander Sukhanov. As with many bards, regular publication of her work became possible for Veronika Dolina during Perestroika. Her first album was published in 1986, and shortly after – the second, with over 1 mln copies sold. In 1987, the first book with Dolina's poetry was published in Paris. To date, Veronika Dolina has published 20 books of poetry, released 9 vinyl albums and over 25 compact discs, written over 500 songs, and still travels all over the world giving concerts.
Alexander Dolsky Sample hit: Одиночество Store
Alexander Dolsky is a Soviet and Russian poet, writer, actor, and bard. In 1970s his songs became famous all across Soviet Union, but their content was heavily censored and had to remain mostly as underground art. In the midst of many bards of 70-80s he stands out by his musical and poetic talent and amazing guitar skill. His guitar is not just an accompaniment to his lyrical and very philosophical songs, but it is an equal partner on the stage and often becomes a leading performer. Alexander Dolsky acted in and wrote music for several films, as well as wrote music to the poetry of French, English, American, and Russian poets.
Shanson report an error back to top
For more info see: Chanson.ru
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Mikhail Krug Sample Hit: Владимирский централ Store
Influenced heavily by bardic singer V. Vysotsky (see above), Krug began publishing songs after serving in the Russian army, where he was trained as an auto mechanic. His star rose after he participated in the 1996 "Russian Shanson" festival in Moscow (the festival is still held annually). Like many Shanson artists, many of songs are considered highly offensive. On at least one occasion, production was stopped on one of his music videos because no station would air it. Krug was murdered in his home in Tver in 2002 and the case has never been solved. It is still a lively topic of conversation amongst his fans and "Prospect TV," a cable channel, produced a documentary about it in 2006.
Irina Krug Sample Hit: Тебе, моя последняя любовь Store
Irina Krug is the young widow of Mikhail Krug and one of the youngest rising stars in the world of Russian Shanson. Born in 1976 to a military family in Chelyabinsk, she dreamed of becoming an actress and so studied singing and acting at the local cultural center there. She met Mikhail about the time she gradated from high school and married him about a year later. She produced her lastest album in memory of her late husband with the participation of many more famous singers in the world of Russian Shanson. Mikhail also left behind a young son, Alexander, who still lives with Irina.
Alexander Novikov Sample Hit: Вези меня, извозчик Store
In the late 70's Alexander Novikov was working as a rock musician performing in Moscow restaurants. He went on to found a record label and then made a name for himself performing on self-made electronic instruments. He produced his first Shanson album in 1984. The album was an instant hit and circulated widely within underground circles. Novikov was soon arrested by the KGB who charged that the album was libelous against the state. Public reaction came out in favor of Novikov and the charges were changed to "manufacture and sale of electronic equipment," a crime under communist law. He was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor but released in 1990 when a court under glastnost found that there was no evidence he had committed any crime. Due to the prison sentence, the influence of Shanson on his style was solidified as was his popularity with its fans. He is still producing music and giving concerts.
Grigory Leps Sample Hit: Натали Store
Grigory Leps is best known for his unique, masculine voice and on-stage charisma and humor. His has also been a romantic existence, though differing from others on this short list of artists. Born in Sochi, he began his career there, singing in restaurants. Encouraged by Moscow producers vactioning there, he moved to the capital to find fame, but quickly found drugs and alcohol first. By the time his first hit, Natali, scaled the charts he was lying in the hospital with an alcoholism related illness and not expected to live. He pulled through, however, and has spent the past 10 years sober and making more hits. His last album, Labyrinth, was released in 2006.
Mikhail Shufutinsky Sample Hit: Дороги в небо Store
Mikhail Shufutinsky was born to an educated Jewish family and received classical training on the accordion, the bayan (gypsy accordion), and the piano. His musical career began playing in orchestras in Moscow. However, just before President Nixon’s visit to Moscow in 1972 he was one of several artists that were advised by the KGB to leave Moscow. He moved to the Russian city of Magadane, where he took up Shanson. He emigrated in 1981, moving first to Austria and then to Italy, but always dreaming of going to America. He believed that "only there would a Russian-language singer have the opportunity to resume his career." He moved to New York shortly thereafter. There, he built up a reputation among Russian immigrants, eventually becoming so well known that he was invited to perform in Russia after the fall of the fall of the USSR. He now works mostly in Russia, but still counts America as his home and his family is permanently based there. In what might be seen as twist of irony, Shufutinsky derives his popularity from the fact that he sings "pure" Russian Shanson – only in Russian – and with little sign of foreign influence.
Katerina Golitsyna Sample Hit: Невозвращенка Store
Katerina Golitsyna was born Katerina Yakovlevoi and started her musical career singing pop music in Moscow’s restaurants. In the 1990's she left the pop genre and began experimenting with folk music, including with American country influences, which she was exposed to during a stay in the US. In 2002, in what was apparently a flash of inspiration, she changed her name to Golitsyna and her genre to Shanson. Her first Shanson album was an instant hit. She is known for the strength of her voice, lyrics, and personality by fans that are usually very discerning of who they will accept as "genuine." She is one of the genre’s most prodigious artists.
Classic Pop report an error back to top
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Alla Pugacheva Sample hit: Миллион Алых Роз Store
While still in college, she produced her first hit in 1965. She then participated in a slew of popular bands (including "The Jolly Fellows," with whom she cut her first album) and recorded a number of popular songs for Soviet films. Much of her time now is taken up by tv appearances and her duties as part of Russia's Public Chamber (a legislative advisory organ). Although she is still popular enough to have fan clubs across Russia, she is also hated by many as a diva and a relic of the Soviet past that the current government continues to support.
Valerii Leontev Sample hit: Если ты уйдешь Store
Valerii Leontev was a darling of Soviet pop. Born to family of deer herders in the small village of Ust-Usa in the far north of Russia, he went on to study music under the "All-Soviet Masters of Popular Art," and rise to stardom after he won first prize in the "All-Soviet Contest for the Best Executed Song of the Nations of Socialist Brotherhood." He later studied theatre at the Leningrad Institute for Culture and stared in several movies in the 1980s, including two documentaries about himself. He is still producing music (including singing many songs written by Krutoi (above) some of his recent more songs seem to be harkening back to native melodies he must have heard in his childhood. See, for example, Падаю в небеса.
Larisa Dolina Sample hit: Оттепель Store
Larisa Dolina was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, but moved to Odessa, Ukraine when she was three. The began singing professionally in 1971 for orchestras and operatic productions. By 1985 she had garnered enough fame to begin a series of solo performances and in 1991 was invited to Paris to perform. Known for her styling of a wide range of music (which includes American blues and show tunes), she couldn’t have been wholly popular with the Soviet authorities. Judging from the fact that in 1992 she gave a concert entitled “I sing what I want,” (Что хочу, то и пою) she likely didn’t wholly care for them either. She continues to perform and release albums.
Mikhail Boyarskii Sample hit: Зеленоглазое такси Store
Born of famous Soviet actors, Boyarskii seemed destined for fame. He got his start as an actor of stage and screen in the 1970s, wining wide praise for his role as d'Artagnon in the Soviet film The Three Musketeers. He became known as a singer in the 80s with slow ballads and is now best known as a television personality on variety shows and something of a sex symbol among older Russians. As a bit of trivia we can add that he is also known for his trademark hat, which he wears at all events and which helps hide the fact that he nearly completely bald.
Igor Krutoi Sample hit: Печальный ангел Store
His work was mostly academic until 1989 and glasnost allowed him to found ARS, which is still a highly successful musical production company. He writes songs for others and is also famous for performing his own music, much of which is instrumental. He packs some of Russia's (and the world’s) most prestigious concert halls and, in 1996, was named a "People's Artist of Russia" for his achievements in music.
A'Studio Sample hit: Просто прощай
A'Studio was created in Almaty (Kazakhstan), then called Alma-Ata. The name of the band was originally "Alma-Ata Studio" and later shortened to just "A'Studio." In 1989, the A'Studio song "Джулия" ("Julia") caught the attention of the legendary Russian singers Philipp Kirkorov and Alla Pugacheva. Pugacheva invited them to her annual "Christmas Meeting" in 1990 and introduced them as “the best band in the USSR” (which was still in existence at the time), launching the band to fame.
Classic Rock report an error back to top
for more info see: RockMusic.ru
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Mashina vremeni Sample hit: Поворот Store
Mashina Vremeni formed in the late sixties and continue to produce new music today. The group started out singing American folk tunes in English, but quickly switched gears after being inspired by the Beatles. They are known primarily for their versatility and creativity, adding orchestral or folk instruments to rock or blues songs. Despite running afoul of the Soviet authorities several times, their music was featured in many Soviet movies and almost always widely performed and maintained a high production of new music.
Voskresenie Sample hit: Кто виноват Store
Voskresenie began producing music in 1979. Like many bands of that time, they were looking for new sounds and new ideas to place in their music – a whole new concept of rock. Their sound is highly versatile, but their style can be generally described as something like the vocals from the late Beatles mixed with the guitars of early Pink Floyd. Some tracks are pure American blues. They have gone through several break ups and reorganizations, but remain today a staple of Russian classic rock.
Krematorii Sample hit: Сексуальная кошка Store
After running through several names including "The Lady Killers" and "Black Sunday," the group finally decided on "Crematorium." With such a morbid name, it's not surprising that much of their lyrics are also quite dark – and they mix violins and renaissance instruments in for dissonance. The group themselves are also apparently quite moody and were often marked by arguments between front man Armen Grigoryan and co founder Viktor Troegubov. Troegubov eventually left the band and formed another group called "Smoke."
Agata Kristi Sample hit: Красная Шапочка Store
Agata Kristi, named for the mystery novelist, is very late soviet rock. Formed in 1988, the band could be classed within the grunge genre that was gaining popularity at that time (even in the USSR). However, they are usually classed with the classic rock bands – whose mixing of rock and orchestral instruments and styles was a staple of the 1980s. Known for dark, purposefully enigmatic and slightly twisted songs, they live up to their name-sakes. Fans of the Brat films may recognize Секрет from Brat II.
Evgeny Margulis Sample Hit: Когда ты уйдёшь Store
Evgeny Margulis a veteran of the Russian rock scene, having been a member of eight different bands including Mashina Vremeni, Voskresenye, and Nautilus. He’s been a guitarist, bassist, and singer and still collaborates with Mashina Vremeni on albums. His solo work has a distinct classic rock sound and sometimes even bluesy feel.
Kino Sample hit: Песня без слов Store
Kino formed in 1981 in Leningrad. Their songs focus on issues of freedom and tell of the beauty and mediocrity that permeated everyday soviet life. Due to censorship, early songs were heard only by small, private audiences, and their tapes were copied and circulated illegally by fans. A few songs even made it to the US, released on a compellation CD called "Red Wave." After 1988, as censorship fell, they had two years of unbridled fame until lead singer Victor Tsoi died in a car accident. The band, whose music is reminiscent of The Cure or sometimes The Doors, retains its following even today. We also recommend the much rougher "Электричка," about how much we all hate work and the daily commute.
Vyacheslav Butusov Sample Hit: Тихие игры Store
Vyacheslav Butusov was the lead singer of the Soviet/Russian rock band Nautilus Pompilius, an influential band in the New Wave, post-punk genre of Russian rock music. Since the group disbanded in 1997, Butusov created his own group U-Piter in 2001, and since 2007 has been pursuing a solo career.
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A language and culture resource describing Russian education and youth culture in modern Russian as spoken by today's Russian youth.
U-Piter Sample Hit: Песня идущего домой Store
The group was founded in 2001 by Vyacheslav Butusov (ex-Nautilus Pompilius), along with Georgy Kasparyan (ex-Кино), Oleg Sakmarov (ex-Аквариум) and Eugene Kulakov (ex-Пойманные Муравьеды). Since then Sakmarov left the group, but it has continued with the remaining three. With such an all-star cast, the group immediately became very popular and its songs are often heard on Russian radio. The group has toured in Russia and globally.
Kalinov Most Sample Hit: Иерусалим Store
One of the legends of Russian rock, “Kalinov Most” was founded in Novosibirsk. The band first gained popularity in 1986-1987, later nearly broke up and was revived in 1997. In Russian folklore the name of the band “Kalinov Most” ("Fiery Bridge”) symbolizes a place of battle between good and evil. Their songs are written by frontman Dmitry Revyakin, and are known for their unique style. Most often described as “folk rock” they are full of references to Russian folk stories, myths, characters and other spiritual and ethnic references in the vocobularly of ancient Russian and Revyakin's own made-up words.
Tancy Minus Sample Hit: Город Store
Танцы Минус is a group started in 1995 and were first noticed by the music industry at the musical festival "Поколение 96" (Generation ‘96). Shortly after, the band moved to Moscow and performed in bars and clubs, sometimes playing up to three sets a day. By the end of the 90s, the band gained some broader popularity and their single "Город" (City) reached third place on the 1999 compilation "Хит-парада слушателей У1" (U1 Listeners’ Hit Parade). Lately the band “withdrew into the shadows,” giving very few concerts, rare tours, and almost no new song releases, although they faithfully participate in the “Нашествие» (Invasion) – Russian Annual Rock festival.
Gleb Samoiloff & The Matrixx Sample Hit: Жить всегда Store
After the well-known Russian rock group Agata Kristi (named after the mystery writer) disbanded in January 2010, Gleb Samoiloff (the former lead from Agata Kristi) and some other former members decided to create a new band. The result was Gleb Samoiloff & The Matrixx. The band has become immediately popular due to its already-famous members.
Rock report an error back to top
For more info see: Rock.ru
Bravo Sample Hit: Этот город
Bravo is a rock band founded in 1983 in Moscow, Russia by guitarist Evgeny Havtan. Drawing a heavy inspiration from 1950's western music, Bravo was a part of the Soviet rock explosion of the 1980's and was forbidden and “black listed” along with Alisa and Aquarium. The band, however, survived and continues to make music today.
Animatsiya Sample Hit: Родина
Russian rock-band “Animatsiya” was founded in Chistopol, the second largest city of Tatarstan Republic, home of famous VOSTOK watch brand of the Soviet Union. The watch factory is no more, but the band just came out with their new album “Время Ё,” which is characteristic of the current time – turbulent, unbearable, non-uniform, easy and strange at the same time.
Zveri Sample Hit: Для тебя Store
The "Wild Animals" blend strong rock arrangements with often figurative narratives in their lyrics. Their lead singer, Roman Bilyk (who goes by Roman Zveri) is a quiet, unassuming looking lad who comes off surprisingly strong as both a lead singer and a band spokesman. Based largely on his personality, the band has quickly achieved fame across the FSU with songs that mostly explore various forms of love and relationships.
Bratya Grim Sample Hit: Кустурица Store
Identical twin brothers Borya and Kostya Grim are from Samara, in southern Russia. They started producing music in 1999 but would wait several years before their demo was given to producer Leonid Burlakov, who moved the group to Moscow where they would become stars. Their lyrics are more ethereal than anything – blending words and images to bring out the beauty of the sound of the language, rather than build narrative or even attempt to make sense. The arrangements are traditional rock, driven by strong guitar and percussion.
Pilot Sample Hit: Карелия Store
Pilot has been popular for almost a decade, one of a wave of bands to come out of the St. Petersburg music scene. Their music is popular with both critics and the larger mass public, entering heavy rotation in radio broadcasts and earning the lead singer/song writer (known as Ilya Chert) such titles in music reviews as "a successor to the traditions of the Russian soul." The Russian soul has apparently learned heavy guitar riffs and drum solos.
Bi-2 Sample Hit: Последний герой Store
Originally formed in Minsk, Belorussia in 1985, Bi-2 went through various incarnations before subduing all Russia with their aggressive rock arrangements and often epic, often romantic lyrics and vocals. The lead singer has developed an image and reputation as "the hero of maiden dreams," (romantic, heroic, but often sad). The above hit was featured as the theme song to a television show of the same name (Russia's answer to "Survivor").
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Splean Sample Hit: Выхода нет Store
Splean was one of the first Russian rock groups to emerge after the fall of the USSR. They are still wildly popular, singing unusual but addictive songs with sad words and unusual melodies. The group's name means depression in Russian and they insist on its transliteration being spelled with –ea rather than –i, which is a nod to the spelling of the Beatles. According to one Russian critic, "Splean opens doors to the consciousness and what door to enter, where to stay, depends on the decision of your heart." We are also fans of their song "Пыльная быль," which was one of their first big hits in the 90's.
Quest Pistols Sample Hit: Клетка Store
As the bio page on the band's site states, the Quest Pistols are simply three "cool guys" who formed the group three years ago and now tour all over Russia and Ukraine. They experiment with different sub-genres of rock in their songs and have an eclectic sound ranging from hard rock to some purely pop or hip-hop influenced hits such as "Kletka" ("Cage").
Pyotr Nalitch Sample Hit: Баба люба Store
Pyotr Nalitch gained his fame by beginning his musical career solely over the Internet. His song "Gitar," with its tongue-in-cheek lyrics in broken English and primitively-made YouTube video, were what initially made Nalitch well-known. He began making all of his songs available for free on his website in 2007 and played his first concert with his "musical collective" ("Muzikalny kollektiv Petra Nalitcha,"often abbreviated "MKPN") later that same year. Their concerts were nearly always sold out and they decided to release their first album in 2008, which was self-produced by Nalitch.
Myrakami Sample Hit: Нулевой км
This rock-band from Kazan was founded in 2005 by musicians from Solntse-Ekran (Sun-Screen) and Dilyara Vagapova, who was then with the “Narodny Artist-2” (People’s Artist-2). The group immediately began a tour of the Kazan region. In August 2006, they produced their first album Chaiki (Seagulls). The band is named after Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer whose books are filled with fanciful metamorphoses and delicately intertwines the philosophy of an average person consumed by a megapolis.
Angel NeBes Sample Hit: Настя Store
Angel NeBes is a Russian rock-band founded in 2006 in Tula. In 2008, they moved to Saint-Petersburg to advance their careers further. They refer to themselves as a “theatrical-psychedelic rock-project” and supplement their performances with a whole spectrum of props, such as bedding, phones, globes, saws, folding cots, etc. The name of the group is a play on words which sounds like “angel of heaven” but actually means “Angel – not Demon.”
SLOT Sample Hit: Сумерки (Twilight) Store
SLOT is a popular Russian bands whose style varies from heavy electronic rock to rock-pop. Their first breakthrough came with hit movie “Boomer” when two songs written by SLOT were featured on the film’s soundtrack and became the band’s first official releases. After a joint performance with Jonathan Davis of the American heavy metal band KOЯN, he praise them as “a great mix of Linkin Park and Evanescense.” In August 2011, their first English-language album, Break The Code, was released in US and Canadian music stores. In English speaking markets, they are known as “The SLoT.”
Pelageya Sample Hit: Ой, да не вечер! Store
Pelageya Khanova (Russian: Пелагея Ханова) or Pelageya, (born 14 July 1986), is а Russian singer. Named with an old Russian name after her great-grandmother, she sings folk-songs, traditional ballads, and compositions written by the members of her group, mostly in rock arrangements. Pelageya was born in Novosibirsk and recognized for her vocal talent since early childhood, receiving multiple awards. In 1997 she sang at Moscow's 850th Anniversary Pageant concert, was the sole performer at the Heads of Government of Three States Summit (Jacques Chirac, Helmut Kohl, Boris Yeltsin), signed her first label contract and moved to Moscow. During the economic crisis of 1999-2000, the label was not able to sustain the contract, so Pelageya, at 14, graduated school, entered into GITIS (Russian State University of Theater Arts) and, joined by other young music talents, organized a band which later was named after her. The group describes its musical style as art-folk and folk-rock..
Alt Rock report an error back to top
Uma2rman Sample Hit: Прасковья Store
Yes, they are actually named for the actress Uma Thurman. They say that as huge fans of the actress, they hoped producing music dedicated to her would mean they would some day meet her, which they did, when Kill Bill 2 made its Moscow primer. Apparently Uma even likes the music. The band, composed of brothers Vova and Sergei Kristovsky, is known for lyrical Caribbean-influenced songs about love and modern culture. According to one Russian critic, "some songs amaze as peals of a thunder, some bewitch as a flight of leaves."
Louna Sample Hit: Бойцовский клуб Store
This Russian alternative female-lead rock band was created in August 2008 and made its first public appearance on May 23, 2009 at the famous Moscow club “Tochka.” Their music incorporates a variety of styles and the lyrics dig into serious problems facing modern society. They immediately gained popularity and in the next 2 years Louna played some of the largest Russian and Ukrainian rock festivals. In 2009, the group received a RAMP (Russian Alternative Music Prize) award and was named a “Discovery of the Year.” The name of the group is, as you might suspect, taken from the Russian word for “moon” – or “луна.” However, they decided on use an unusual English transliteration so as to be more “unusual.”
25/17 Sample Hit: Звезда Store
Russian Rap-Rock-band 25/17 was founded by Andrey Pozdnuhov (better known under his stage name Bledny, which means “pale” in Russian) in Moscow in 2002. Anton Zavyalov (Ant) joined the band in 2006. Prior to 2009, the band was known as Ezekiel 25:17 in tribute to the Bible verse from Ezekiel 25:17 quoted by a character in the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction.
Gorod 312 Sample Hit: Вне зоны доступа Store
Their powerful lead singer belts lyrics about experiences familiar to everyone. Mixing this with haunting, often funky and slightly gritty melodies, the band has developed a wide fan base. The song above was featured on the PiterFM soundtrack, a popular movie that capitalized on St. Petersburg's reputation for romance and art-house music. Сокол is another favorite!
Smyslovye Gallyutsinatsii Sample Hit: Бездна Store
Formed in 1989 in Ekaterinsburg, they are primarily known for mixing electronic and acoustic elements. Their name means "Meaningful Hallucinations," but they are usually simply known as "Glyuki," a slang term that means roughly "Brain Glitch." They rose to super-stardom when their song "Вечно молодой" was prominently featured on the soundtrack of the cult action film Brat.
Zemfira Sample Hit: Трафик Store
Zemfira formed in 1998 and released their first album in 1999. They were immediately recognized for the uniqueness of their songs. The group, which actually consists of four members, is named for the charismatic lead singer, whose name, in turn, hails from her Tatar heritage. Originally from Ufa, she is now a student of philosophy at Moscow State University in addition to being one of Russia's most cutting-edge singers. Her surreal, intellectual lyrics are complimented by an unusual but very confident musical style. She has become a cult idol, with millions who love her songs and a nearly equal number who "don't get it."
Night Snipers Sample Hit: Кошка Московская Store
Night Snipers formed in 1993 and quickly became favorites of the Saint Petersburg music clubs. Their early songs were an odd but pleasing mix of Rock, Jazz, Soviet, and Japanese influences. Their later releases are less distinctive, especially after they brought Zemfira's music engineer on board. Try listening to "Jazz" or the haunting repetitions of "На границе."
Mumiy Troll Sample Hit: Девочка Store
Formed in last years of the Soviet Union in Vladivostok, this band self-published their first album on cassette to avoid bureaucracy and censorship. After the fall, the band broke up when lead singer Ilya Lagutenko, who speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese fluently, left to work abroad. When he returned a few years later, the band reunited and produced its first successful official album, Morskaya. Their music is full of industrial electronic riffs and Ilya is a delightfully whimsical and distinctive singer. The band is also known for its work campaigning for AIDS awareness and prevention programs.
Chaif Sample Hit: Оранжевое настроение Store
Chaif (Чайф) was formed in 1984 in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Russia. Their name is derived from the word chai, meaning tea, and "kaif", a slang word roughly equivalent to the English slang use of "high." The band first big hits came in 1992 with Don't Hurry (Ne Speshi) and 17 Years Old (17 Let). They are still popular in Russia and recognized as "staples" of the music scene there, occasionally appearing on television shows, giving concerts, and releasing new material. They best known for their wide variety of styles, which generally hold true to folk-rock, but lapse into blues, jazz, and even reggae influences.
Lumen Sample Hit: Государство Store
Russian rock/punk/alternative band was founded in Ufa by three classmates with two guitars and a shaker made out of an empty coffee can. The name “Lumen” (which means "light" in Latin) that they took in 1998 begot their slogan: «Человек человеку – свет» (Man is a light to man). Lumen was awarded the RAMP Prizes (Russian Alternative Music Premium) for Band of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and Album of The Year (for album Pravda?) in 2007. RAMP Prizes are awarded by Russia’s A1 music channel, which is devoted to alternative music.
Posle 11 Sample Hit: Крылья
After 11 – In 1999, at the Saratov Palace of Pioneers, three conservatory students entered a musical contest with their song “Zvezdochka” that they had written for their friend’s birthday. The name of the band was made up 10 minutes prior to entering the stage. After taking first prize, the musicians decided to continue playing together at local clubs and parties and eventually moved to Moscow where their new folk-pop-rock drew a large following.
Surganova i Orkestr Sample Hit: Мураками Store
Surganova i Orkestr, a Russian rock band, was founded in 2003 when Svetlana Surganova (a founder of Night Snipers, another popular Russian band) joined the band Sever Combo. Svetlana Surganova describes band’s style as VIP-Punk-Decadence. Most of band’s songs are written by Svetlana, some are based on the work of famous Russian poets, such as Joseph Brodsky, Nikolay Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, as well as modern authors.
Orgia Pravednikov Sample Hit: Наша родина - СССР Store
This group, whose name translates to “Orgy of The Righteous” was formed in 1999 when rock-bard Sergey Kalugin merged with the art-rock band "ARTEL." The peculiar sound of the new band arises from the original combination of acoustic (flute and acoustic guitar) and electric (drums, electric guitar and bass guitar) sessions. From the moment of their origin the band has declared their purpose as forming a completely new style, in which the most valuable and the most interesting achievements of their native Russian musical traditions would be combined with the traditions of global rock music.
Punk report an error back to top
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For more info see: Punk.ru
Brigadniy Podryad Sample Hit: Всерьёз! Store
This punk-rock band was formed in 1986 in Leningrad, USSR, by three classmates. Its early career was held back by the fact that the USSR officially looked down on punk and rock music. However, the band broke up in the early 1990s, shortly after the fall of the USSR. It eventually came back together with a slightly different compensation. Some think that only songs produced in that first period of band’s existence are truly theirs, nevertheless, they still uphold a reputation as one of the best Russian live bands. Many of their songs also have been covered by other famous Russian rock-bands and artists. Their name "Бригадный подряд", in Russian business lingo, means “Contract Services.”
NAIV Sample Hit: Dehumanized Store
Naiv (Naïve) is anything but. These guys deliver hard-hitting, politically charged industrial-techno-punk. The lead singer screams against fascism and oppression while his band backs him up with brain-rattling distortions, clangs, and riffs. The group formed when two of its founding members, guitarist Maksim Kochetkov and singer Alexander Ivanov, were serving in the army together in 1988. When the two finished their service in 1989, two others joined the group which then began performing and working on their first album. It was released in 1990 on the US label Maximum Rock 'N' Roll and the group gained a following in the US as well. In fact, the group's first album could be found in Kurt Cobain's personal library, who counted himself as a fan. NAIV announced that they were splitting up in 2009 due to "creative differences" and former lead singer Alexander Ivanov has started another punk group called RADIO ЧАЧА.
RADIO ЧАЧА Sample Hit: Вон из дома Store
RADIO ЧАЧА is the very recently-formed project by Alexander "ЧАЧА" Ivanov, former lead singer for the punk band NAIV. In April of 2009, NAIV announced that it was going on a hiatus of unspecified length due to "creative differences" between its members. In early 2010, Alexander announced that his personal hiatus was over and that he was forming a new group called RADIO ЧАЧА. The group's very first performance was in April 2010 in Moscow, and their first album, "Live Slow. Die Old." was released that same month.
F.P.G. Sample Hit: Милиция Store
The punk band F.P.G. was formed in 1993. At first, the group only performed covers of well-known English punk songs and wrote very few of their own songs. Despite how long they have been touring and performing, the group has only released three albums, their first having been released in 1999. The group explains that they prefer to concentrate on touring – they’ve performed in hundreds of cities and small towns all over Russia as well as in dozens of rock festivals and tours with other bands.
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KnyaZz Sample Hit: Человек-загадка
КняZz is a new music project of Andrei Knyazev, a frontman and founder of the wildly popular punk band Korol I Shut (King and Jester). “Knyaz” is also the author of many of that band’s hits. The new project carries his nickname “Knyaz,” a shortened version of his last name, which also happens to mean “prince” or “duke” in Russian. This seems to be an appropriate title for a project that came out of “King and Jester.”
Alexey Gorshenev and Kukryniksy Sample Hit: Звезда Store
The Russian post-punk band Кукрыниксы (Kukryniksy) was founded in 1997 by Aleksey Gorshenev, the ex-drummer of the horror punk band Korol i Shut (King and Jester) and the brother of Korol i Shut frontman Mikhail Gorshenev (also known as “Gorshok” or “pot”). The band is well-known for their contributions to the soundtrack of the movie The 9th Company (9 Рота). The word “KuKryNiksy” is the name of a Soviet political cartoonist trio from the 1940s-50s (Mikhail Kuprianov, Porfiry Krylov and Nikolay Sokolov). This name was chosen for the band accidentally and temporarily, but has not been changed yet.
Folk Punk report an error back to top
Folk Punk blends traditional elements with punk music. It often focuses on traditional themes and the bands often play full folk songs with accordions, guitars, and traditional instruments. They just speed it up, make it simpler, and in general, wail.
Sektor Gaza Sample Hit: Колхозный панк Store
Sektor Gaza is named for a highly contaminated Soviet industrial zone near Voronezh, the town where the band was formed in 1987. They would not perform publicly until after the fall, as the authorities had banned their music, but performed privately and gathered quite a following. When perestroika hit, the band hit the charts. The lead singer, Yuri Klinskikh (whose stage name we will refrain from printing here) died of sudden heart failure in 2000. His fans still remember him as the "Russian Johnny Rotten."
Babslei Sample Hit: Пташечка Store
Babslei were one of the first successful folk-punk groups in Russia. As nearly all good punk did, the all-woman group got together as a bit of a joke. They all liked folk music but, they said, but could not play it properly – so they played it punk, with simpler cords and just for fun. Their sound is very rough, and is definitely for those who truely love garange-band punk. While the band officially does not exist any more (many members joined Iva Nova, which has a much more mature sound) their music is still available and still recommended.
Iva Nova Sample Hit: Была не была Store
This all-girl punk band from St. Petersburg is another we count among our favorites. Blurring the bounds of genre, they sing mostly Slavic folk tunes or songs inspired by Slavic folk. In their mouths and hands, the tempos are drastically sped up and undercut with punk riffs. As with most punk bands everywhere, their membership has been a little unstable. We were especially sorry to see Lena Zhorik (right), their accordion player and formerly their strongest stage presence, leave the band to pursue personal interests.
Ska report an error back to top
For more info see: Ska.ru
ELIZIUM Sample Hit: Как Ван Гог Store
The group ELIZIUM, created in 1995 in Nizhni Novgorod, takes its name from Greek mythology; the Elysium Gardens was a place where absolute freedom and happiness reigned. The band, likewise, sings fun-loving, experimental songs that sometimes defy classification in genre or even ideology.
Male Factors Sample Hit: Водочка Store
The group formed in 1998, and is now composed of six guys who go by names like "Skanker" and "El Gordito." Much of their music is influenced by Shanson tradition, with many, many songs about criminals and drinking. In 2000, they were signed to Hobgoblin Records, a label owned by a former hacker who made oodles of cash by producing spoof translations of Hollywood hits and selling them on the black market. He has since turned legit.
Distemper Sample Hit: Троллейбус 27 Store
Distemper, appropriately enough, bears a cartoon mascot of a mad dog. They formed in 1989 as a hard-core punk band, but gradually integrated horns and developed a ska style. Their songs combine optimism, humor, guitars and horns with a gravely and charismatic lead singer. The band is known across Europe (especially in Germany) and has started their own record label: Distemper Records.
Skalpel Sample Hit: Праздник Store
Skalpel formed in 1997 with the philosophy that anyone with a microphone could sing and anyone with guitar could play. However, as the band’s hilarious English language website states, "this happened to be a problem." It took four years of adjustments – and learning their instruments before they began appearing in festivals. Now, they are occasionally joined by members of big-name bands such as Distemper when they cut albums..
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Alisa Sample Hit: Плачь Store
Alisa is considered one of the most influential banks in Russian rock. They formed in 1983 in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and the group’s name is from Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." The band's songs and lyrics started out as typical themes of rock and roll and social protest, but after lead singer Konstantin Kinchev's baptism into the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990, the band's lyrics began to take on the themes of Christianity and Slavic unity. This caused the group to lose some of its "hardcore" fan following but most of the "Alisa Army" (what their fans call themselves) have remained loyal.
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about Russian films.
Mordor Sample Hit: Банзай
Mordor is Russian Industrial-metal band, created in 2007 by famous Russian musicians who prefer to disguise their names with fantasy pseudonyms. They present themselves as four raiders of Mordor sent to return fugitives escaped from the kingdom of evil using their own powerful tool - music. They complete their image with name-related legends, heavy make-up, costumes and pyrotechnics show during their concerts.
Rap/Hip Hop report an error back to top
Timati Sample Hit: Жизнь игра Store
Timati is of Jewish and Tatar descent and was born in Moscow. He is a well-known Russian rapper who has also began gaining recent popularity in the west thanks to collaborations with such artists as Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, and Busta Rhymes on his latest album, "The Boss." He raps in both English and Russian and is also the CEO of his own record label, Black Star, Inc.
Noize MC Sample Hit: Песня для радио Store
Rapper Noize MC (real name Ivan Alekseev) and his caustic lyrics often make the rapper a source of controversy. After taunting police at a concert in July 2010 and singing “Kuri Bambuk,” a song about police brutality, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail for disorderly conduct. One of his most famous songs, “Mercedes-S666” is based on a traffic accident involving Lukoil Vice-President Anatoly Barkov; the accident killed the two passengers of the other vehicle while Barkov denied that he or his driver were at fault.
Guf Sample Hit: Жизнь игра Store
Guf (real name Alexey Dolmatov) began writing songs at the end of 1990s after returning from seven years in China. However, he officially entered the world of hip-hop in 2000 with as part of the duet “Rolex-X,” which then became the group CENTR, formed with two other famous Russian rap artists, Slim and Птаха (Little Bird). In 2006 Guf’s, song “Сплетни” (Gossip), a song about women of show business, soon had everyone talking in Moscow. In song, Guf mentioned his grandmother, who also became famous due to the song, and who later appeared in his very successful solo album “Gorod dorog” (City of roads). In 2009, Guf left CENTR to pursue a solo career.
T-Killah Sample Hit: До дна
T-killah (real name – Alexander Tarasov), a Russian rap-artist, burst into popularity through online videos in 2008. He presents his songs and videos online and they immediately climb up playlists of Russian social network “VKontakte”. Since childhood, Alexander knew he wanted to be a musician, and was especially influenced by Eminem. He has an education in economics, music, and theater arts and previously played professional volleyball for 7 years. He comments on his Internet strategy: “Listeners of my age mostly live on the Net. I try my tracks there and watch the reaction. I make changes based on actual comments of my fans, which is very important. My music is for them so to have it popular with them, I take their advice, first of all, through the Internet.”
Max Korzh Sample Hit: Где я
Макс Корж – born in Minsk, Belarus, he started his music career with hip-hop and opposition rap as a way to express his dissatisfaction with political situation in that country at the time. Eventually, he states, he tired of “being negative” and longed for something “more peaceful.” According to Max, he created his own music style, using hip-hop as a foundation to express simple thoughts and emotions familiar to many people. He quickly became very popular in Belarus and is now rising on Russian charts.
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Not Quite Russian report an error back to top
A few bands that are from places around Russia or are otherwise related to Russia that we thought you'd enjoy....
Ivan Dorn Sample Hit: Стыцамэн Store
Ivan Dorn was born in Chelyabinsk, Russia, but his family later moved to Ukraine where his father worked at the site of former Chernobyl power plant. Until recently, Ivan was known primarily as a Ukrainian singer and TV host, but now his star is rising in Russia as well. He started singing at the age of six and very successfully coupled his love for music and singing with yachting, tennis, professional ballroom dance competitions, chess, and soccer. From 2007 to 2010 Ivan joined Anya Dobrydneva in a duet called “Para Normalnykh,” a play on the word “paranormal” (in Russian: “паранормальный”) that actually means “a pair of normal people.” In 2010, he started his solo career and in May 2012 came out with his debut solo album Co’N’Dorn (written with English letters). The name of the album appears to be “Dorn and Co” written in colloquial slang and backwards, probably referring to the fact that many of his songs were written in partnership with other artists and wanting to give those partners top billing.
Gogol Bordello Sample Hit: When the Trickster... Store
This Ukrainian "Gypsy Punk" group speaks about problems common to their region and explores cultural misunderstandings between various groups. They do this with intelligence, sarcasm, Kerouac-style ramblings, and purposefully comic English. Highly recommended, at your own risk! The lead singer has also appeared in movies which approach the same issues in the same style. These include a wonderful release called Everything is Illuminated with Elijah Wood as a mono-lingual American who travels to Ukraine to reconnect with his Ukrainian-Jewish heritage.
Okean El’zi Sample Hit: Я так хочу Store
The group was founded in 1994 in Lvov, in eastern Ukraine and hit it big after moving to the capital Kiev in 1998. Shortly thereafter, the band began touring in Russia where they found they already had a large following of fans. Their songs are sung in Ukrainian by frontman Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, who became an official UN Ambassador of Ukrainian Culture in 2003.
Dantes&Oleynik Sample Hit: Мне уже 20 Store
Vladimir Dantes, a former bartender, and Vadim Oleynik, who worked as a store clerk, first met on Ukraine's version of "Star Factory." The two were paired up and performed on the show where they won and decided to continue their work as a duet. After touring with other stars from the show across Ukraine’s major cities, the two set out on their own tour and finished up their first album to be released in summer 2010.
Boombox Sample Hit: Концерты
The group was formed in 2004 in Kiev, Ukraine by Andrei Khlyvnyuk (vocalist), Andrei Samoilo (guitarist), and Valentin Matiyuk (DJ). Although their songs are all sung in Ukrainian, they have gained popularity and a large fan following in Russia as well.
Geegun Sample Hit: Отпусти Store
(Real name - Denis Ustimenko-Vaynshtein) This hip-hop artist from Black Star Inc. (a company founded and headed by Russian-language rapper Timati), got his start as a DJ and MC in Ukraine. He then began to collaborate with several local musicians, which led to creation of his first tracks. Geegun leads a healthy lifestyle and is actively involved in various social programs devoted to healthy nutrition. He is also a master kickboxer and a champion of Ukraine in hand-to-hand fighting.
Elka Sample Hit: Прованс Store
Elka is Russian for “Christmas tree.” It is also the stage name of Ukraine soloist Elizaveta Ivantsiv. Born to a family of musicians, she started singing when she joined a school choir. Her musical career began in school, when she joined the local KVN team. KVN is a sprawling competitive comedy league spanning much of the former Soviet Union. After participating in many bands over the years, both in Ukraine and Russia, and experimenting with many musical styles, from alternative rock and “heavy guitar R&B” (her own descrtiption), to reggae and pop-music, she has released many albums and received several Russian music awards.
IOWA Sample Hit: Мама
I.O.W.A. (Idiots Out Wandering About) - This group from Belarus wandered into the musical world in 2009. After series of very successful concerts in Saint-Petersburg, they decided to move their band to Russia (Saint-Petersburg) and since then have continued gaining popularity with their concerts and music videos and a unique style that mixes jazz, pop, and R&B.
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We will be adding to this resource as we can. Planned additions include: Jazz, Blues, World/Fusion, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal. A future Library entry will cover labels, producers, clubs, concerts, etc. in more detail. To be alerted of updates, subscribe to the SRAS newsletter by sending an email with "Subscribe" in the subject field to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, there is a new Yahoo! Group devoted to Russian popular music. Join it here.
What's currently popular in Russia? TopHit.ru has the latest info as well as archives! Or see MTV's Russian charts.
Russian Music Videos is a blog featuring a number of YouTubed Russian language music videos.
Russmus.net offers incredibly professional Podcasts that give detailed band histories and music samples.
Ukiemusic is completely devoted to Ukrainian music.
Far from Moscow provides news on modern Russian bands and sound clips from their latest releases.
Russia-ic.com has lots of history about Russian folk, classical, vocal, rock, and authorial music.
Music.Lib.ru and RealMusic.ru are free music hosting sites - apparently favored by amatuer rappers and shanson singers.
PromoDJ.ru is music hosting site that counts both professionals and amateurs among its uploaders.
Russian Language Podcasts is a weekly service from UCLA bringing modern popular Russian music to your iPod (or computer).
Russian Beyond the Headlines offers a modern music podcast.
Samsung Russia sponsors a legal MP3 website with relatively cheap downloads of a lot of Russian music. If you have a Samsung player, you get 250 MB free!
Also see Zvuki.ru, which has lots of free MP3 tracks.
Want to come to Russia to experience modern Russian culture for yourself?
See the programs at the School of Russian and Asian Studies!
This page was originally compiled and written by SRAS Contributing Writer Olga Dmitraschenko, SRAS Asst. Director Josh Wilson, and others as indicated. Thanks to all! Contact the authors
Each month the SRAS newsletter features Russia's current charts for pop, rock, and R&B! Youtube videos of the hit songs are included, as are new, monthly additions to this page.
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