Zarina Vildanova

Zarina Vildanova (Зарина Вильданова) is an up-and-coming contemporary Tatar singer. She is from Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, Russia. She sings in a range of styles—jazz, folk, and pop—and languages, but much of her music has a focus on Tatar sounds and culture.

Vildanova has an extensive musical education. After getting a degree at Kazan State University in the philology department, she went on to study in the pop and jazz department at Kazan Music Institute (Казанский музыкальный колледж) and then the Russian Academy of Theater Arts (ГИТИС) in Moscow.

Vildanova’s music career appears to be pretty recent, though she has already participated in a wide variety of festivals and concerts across Russia. Some highlights include Winds of Change (“Узгэреш жиле”), a festival of Tatar songs, and the TV contest “Tatar mony 2016” (“Татар моны 2016”). She participated in Turkvizyon (the Turkic-language-countries’ version of Eurovision) in 2015 and was a finalist of the “Jazz Manor” (“Усадьба Jazz Роза Хутор”) festival in Sochi.

According to Vildanova’s VK page, she “puts a focus on Tatar folk songs in arrangement … We want to bring Tatar music to a new level, without losing its uniqueness. We want to destroy stereotypes and show that Tatar folk music, rich with history, deep lyrics and meanings, can be interesting, relevant and touching.” Her record label, Yummy Music, describes her voice as “velvet” and “soulful.”

She’s released a number of songs and recently participated in recording a new album from Yummy Music, along with Ilgiz Shaykhraziev (Ильгиз Шайхразиев), Said Olur and Rustem Nurislamov (Рустем Нурисламов). Yummy Music is the number-one indie record label in Tatarstan and counts among its clients a number of contemporary Tatar singers and bands, as well as actors and dancers.

 

“Blue Dress” (“Зәңгәр күлмәк”), performed at a contest for Bashkir and Tatar songs:

 

Lyrics for “Зәңгәр күлмәк”:

Зәңгәр күлмәгеңне киясең дә,
Зәңгәр күлгә көн дә киләсең.
Йөрәгеңдә нинди утлар яна?
— Уйларыңны килә беләсем.

Зәңгәр күлмәгеңне киясең дә,
Яшел болыннардан үтәсең.
Болын чәчәкләрен җыя-җыя,
Кемне болай сагынып көтәсең?

Зәңгәр күлмәгеңнең зәңгәрлеге
Хәтерләтә аяз күкләрне.
Нинди иркә сүзләр ачар икән
Күңелеңнең серле бикләрен?!

 

“Ай җаный”:

 

Lyrics for “Ай җаный”:

Җырла, җырла, дип әйтәсез,
Сезгә нинди җыр кирәк?

Әй, сезгә нинди җыр кирәк?
Ай җаный, вай җаный,
Сезгә нинди җыр кирәк?
Сезнең өчен җыр җырларга
Сандугач теле кирәк.

Өфе — Казан юлларының
Баганалары чыршы,

Эх, баганалары чыршы.
Башларыңа моңнар төшсә,
Сез дә булырсыз җырчы.

Безнең юллар куе үлән,
Карап үтәргә кирәк,

Әй, карап үтәргә кирәк.
Җыр белмәгән, җыр сөймәгән
Безнең татарда (Казанда) сирәк.

Ай май үтә, май үтә,
Май үтә дә җәй җитә,

Эх, май үтә дә җәй җитә.
Май үткәнгә кайгырмагыз,
Безнең яшь гомер үтә.
Ай җаный, вай җаный,
Безнең яшь гомер үтә.

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.