Sofia Rotaru

Sofia Rotaru (Софiя Ротару) is an enormously popular and influential Soviet, Ukrainian, and Romanian/Moldovan singer. Her career has lasted almost 50 years and is still going, and she has not only won most of the major music awards and lifetime achievement awards, but she is also a People’s Artist of both Ukraine and Moldova and a Hero of Ukraine.

Rotaru was born in 1947 in the Bukovina region of Ukraine, near the Romanian and Moldovan borders. She always loved singing, even as a child, but was involved mainly in theater during much of her childhood. But after she participated in a regional artistic contest in 1962, her beautiful voice drew the attention of the local population. She continued performing and attending contests during her school years and while attending a music institute in her native Chernivtsi. At this time she mainly concentrated on Ukrainian folk music, and her early fame was in this genre.

Rotaru’s career both picked up and changed direction in 1971, when she was cast in the lead role of the film Chervona Ruta (Червона рута; translates as “Red rue”). “Chernova ruta” is the name of a popular Ukrainian folk song that has been performed by many singers, though Rotaru’s rendition is probably the most famous. (It is now also the name of the star-making Ukrainian music festival.) The film was so successful that it led to the creation of a new musical ensemble, also named Chervona Ruta, just to back Rotaru’s singing. The group, in turn, also became highly popular throughout the Soviet world.

With Chervona Ruta and later on her own, Rotaru recorded a large number of albums and toured the world, always increasing her renown. Her songs—her repertoire consists of more than 400—are classics of Ukrainian and world music, and she has won an astounding number of prizes and competitions. She’s received political honors from Ukraine, Moldova, and Russia, and many cities and regions within them. In recent years she has continued touring, performing, and releasing music—including at the New Wave, the international festival for (usually) young performers—and won new awards for her recent songs. She’s released more than 40 albums in total.

Politically, Rotaru has come out strongly in support of Ukraine, though the fact that she sometimes sings in Russian has angered some of her fans. She supported the protesters on Maidan Square in 2014 and refused Russian citizenship after the annexation of Crimea, where she lives.

Find Sofia Rotaru on Amazon

 

A recent rendition of “Red Rue” (“Червона рута”), one of the songs Rotaru is best known for:

 

Lyrics for “Червона рута”:

Ти признайся менi,
Звiдки в тебе тi чари,
Я без тебе всi дні
У полонi печалi.
Може, десь у лiсах
Ти чар-зiлля шукала,
Сонце руту знайшла
І мене зчарувала?

Червону – руту
Не шукай вечорами, –
Ти у мене єдина,
Тiльки ти, повiр.
Бо твоя врода –
То є чистая вода,
То є бистрая вода
Синiх гiр.

Бачу я тебе в снах,
У дiбровах зелених,
По забутих стежках
Ти приходиш до мене.
I не треба нести
Менi квiтку надiї,
Бо давно уже ти
Увiйшла в мої мрiї.

Червону руту
Не шукай вечорами, –
Ти у мене єдина,
Тiльки ти, повiр.
Бо твоя врода –
То є чистая вода,
То є бистрая вода
Синiх гiр.

Червону руту
Не шукай вечорами, –
Ти у мене єдина,
Тiльки ти, повiр.
Бо твоя врода –
То є чистая вода,
То є бистрая вода
Синiх гiр.
То є бистрая вода
Синiх гiр.
То є бистрая вода
Синiх гiр.

 

“Let’s Make It Summer” (“Давай Устроим Лето”), Rotaru’s 2015 single:

 

Lyrics for “Давай Устроим Лето”:

Холодно, холодно
Быть может, зима виной?
Но холодно, холодно
Что-то у нас с тобой
Холодно, холодно
Но зиму нельзя отменить
Ведь холод – лишь повод нам
Прошлое изменить

Давай устроим лето
Среди зимы и вьюги
Давай теплом и светом
Станем друг для друга
Станем друг для друга
Давай любить сильнее
Давай гореть, как пламя
Давай весь мир согреем
Снова мир согреем
Горячими сердцами

Яркая, полная
На небе взошла луна
Так холодно, холодно
Смотрит на нас она
Ночь новогодняя
А вместо вина – вина
И холодно, холодно
Как же согреться нам*

Давай устроим лето
Среди зимы и вьюги
Давай теплом и светом
Станем друг для друга
Станем друг для друга
Давай любить сильнее
Давай гореть, как пламя
Давай весь мир согреем
Снова мир согреем
Горячими сердцами

Давай устроим лето

Давай устроим лето
Среди зимы и вьюги
Давай теплом и светом
Станем друг для друга
Станем друг для друга
Давай любить сильнее
Давай гореть, как пламя
Давай весь мир согреем
Снова мир согреем
Горячими сердцами

Давай устроим лето

 

“Romantic” (“Romantica”), one of Rotaru’s Romanian-language songs:

 

Lyrics for “Romantica”:

Romantica
Râul vuitor mie dragul mii
Dar mai mult ador
Ochiul lacului
Nu te supara tu iubitul meu
Ca ramân asa
Cum am fost mereu
Re-en (bis)
Romantica,
Mi-e tristetea si inima
Romantica
Caruntetea si lacrima
http://Versuri.ro/w/geghdg
Romantica
Singurea sau cu dragostea
Romantica
Voi ramânea

Într-un viac grabit
Ce ne va lasa
Visul masorbit
Cu dulceata sa
Nu te supara tu iubitul meu
Ca ramân asa
Cum am fost mereu
Re-en

 

Find Sofia Rotaru on Amazon

 

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.