Alexandr Dolskiya

Aleksandr Dolskiy / Александр Дольский

Published: August 28, 2016

Aleksandr Dolskiy (Александр Дольский) is a Russian bard, along the lines of Vladimir Vysotsky, Bulat Okudzhava, and others. He is a guitar player and actor in addition to a singer-songwriter. His songs have less of a folk style than do those of some bards—his musical education was extensive, and his songs display a high degree of musical and poetic complexity. He is also a true guitar virtuoso capable of impressive performances, and is a laureate of many prestigious Russian art and cultural awards.

Dolskiy was born in 1938 in Sverdlovsk, to an opera singer father and a ballerina mother. As a child he was interested in theater and music, and he began his professional acting career at the age of 10, when he was part of the choir in the Sverdlovsk Theater in several productions. He picked up the guitar soon after and started writing poetry as well. When he was only 16 he wrote the song “The girl cried, her tears will not be appeased” (“Плакала девчонка, слезы не унять”), which achieved the status of a folk song across Russia.

Dolskiy trained and worked both in music and construction/engineering. He began to perform with the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic as a guitarist and his poetry was published in local journals, and he wrote songs for theaters in Sverdlovsk and nearby cities. He also showed promise as an academic, studying the economics of construction, and he continued this career throughout his life. He continued writing songs and by 1966 was performing solo concerts all over the USSR, gradually becoming famous. Like many other artists of the time, his songs were censured by the Communist Party, and many of them were only available unofficially or underground.

His career took a turn in 1979, when he became a member of the Union of Soviet Writers. Now officially an artist, he released his first full-length record in 1980, Star in Hands (Звезда на ладони). He toured more widely and attracted bigger and bigger crowds all over the world. Over the next few decades he continued his artistic activities and released many more records, and he is still continuing his art in St. Petersburg today.

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“Loneliness” (“Одиночество”), 1962:

Lyrics for “Одиночество”:

Холодный взгляд любовь таит
и красота гнетет и дразнит…
Прекрасны волосы твои,
но одиночество прекрасней.
Изящней рук на свете нет,
туман зеленых глаз опасен.
В тебе все музыка и свет,
но одиночество прекрасней.

С тобою дни равны годам,
ты утомляешь, словно праздник.
Я за тебя и жизнь отдам,
но одиночество прекрасней.
Тебе идет любой наряд,
ты каждый день бываешь разной.
Счастливчик – люди говорят,
но одиночество прекрасней.

Не видеть добрых глаз твоих –
нет для меня страшнее казни,
мои печали – на двоих,
но одиночество прекрасней.
Твоих речей виолончель
во мне всегда звучит, не гаснет…
С тобою быть – вот жизни цель,
но одиночество прекрасней.


“Alyonushka” (“Алёнушка”), 1979:

Lyrics for “Алёнушка”:

Аленушка, Аленушка,
Алена сероглазая,
ты сказку мне, Аленушка
рассказывай, рассказывай.
Одним движением ресниц
расскажет мне Алена
про стаи перелетных птиц
под небом побеленным.

Со лба откинув прядь волос
без слов поет Алена
про запах сена, про покос
и полдень опаленный.
А в меди медленной руки
я вижу изумленно
теченье плавное реки
в тени берез и кленов.

Аленушка, Аленушка,
Алена сероглазая,
ты сказку мне, Аленушка,
рассказывай, рассказывай,
о тридесятых странах,
что все в родной сторонке,
всю жизнь я слушать стану
тебя, моя Аленка.

Над озером рябины
качаются, качаются,
а песни для любимых
поются – не кончаются


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About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied 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.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

View all posts by: Julie Hersh