The bards were a group of singer-songwriters in the USSR whose style was originally influenced by shanson and folk. In the classic tradition, bardic music is narrative poetry accompanied by a guitar played by the singer. Although diverse, the genre is most associated with songs that hid social and political commentary within allegory and metaphor. Most of its music was disseminated via recordings and copies made by fans. Although not officially supported by the authorities, many in the highest echelons of Soviet power listened to and enjoyed the music. Since the fall of the USSR, many new artists have continued the genre and its traditions.

Languages: Search for bardic music performed in Central Asian languages, or in Russian, Ukrainian, or Polish.

Bulat Okudzhava / Булат Окуджава

Bulat Okudzhava (1924–1997) (Булат Окуджава) was a Georgian-Armenian Russian-speaking poet and singer-songwriter, and one of the founders of Russia’s bardic tradition. Okudzhava’s parents both worked for the Communist Party, but they were arrested during the Stalinist purges of 1937, and he was raised by other relatives. He started writing poetry as a child. He volunteered […]

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