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  • Ensemble Pesnokhorki - Vol. IV - Traditional Russian & Cossacks songs of Siberia




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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016


- FM 50037 - P & C 2007
more information songs - in German

1. Po ruch'yu - lyrical song - 4:33
2. Podkashona travka - lyrical song - 3:01
3. Vecher devki - dance song - 1:51
4. Ne polati gryanuli - bridal song - 2:08
5. Vyplyvala da seraya utka - bridal song - 1:22
6. Oy, da gryanul grom - bridal song - 2:18
7. Oy, ne po moryu-moryu - bridal song - 2:26
8. Dorozhis', bratets - bridal song - 0:39
9. Poydyom dybom - lyrical song - 2:51
10. Anton - moya dushechka - humorous song - 1:34
11. Kak pod nashi vorota - roundelay - 2:25
12. Tolokno - humorous song - 2:09
13. Da vo pole berezon'ka stoyala - roundelay - 3:31
14. Oy, da nashcheplyu ya khmelyu - bridal song - 1:47
15. Vsadnichki, bystro v pokhod cobiraytes' - cossack song - 1:25
16. Oy podymalisya tumani - lyrical cossack song - 1:48
17. Oy, da vstanem, brattsy - cossack song - 2:24
18. Bezhit rechka - lyrical song - 2:40
19. Da ya vzoidu na goru - roundelay - 3:26
20. Rozhdestvo tvoyo, Khriste Bozhe nash - lithurgical chant - 1:21
21. Khristos Voskres - lithurgical chant - 1:16
22. Dva putnika-rasputnichka po dorozhke shli - lyrical song - 2:00
23. My ranyoshen'ko vstavali - spring song - 2:50
24. Ty, roshchitsa - lyrical cossack song - 2:00
25. Stradania po-kamenski - humorous song (couplets) - 6:05
26. Vniz po matushke po Volga - lyrical cossack song - 2:43
27. Oy, ty Khon'ka-Makhon'ka moya - humorous song - 2:26


The Ensemble Pesnokhorki (formed by: pesnya - song and khorki - choir) was founded in 1979 by Olga A. Abramova.

Olga, Irina, Dmitri, Elena and Igor

- The Russian colonization of Siberia

In 1476 the Russian Tsar Ivan III., "the Great" (1462-1505) ceased the tribute payments to the Prince ("the Khanat") of the Golden Hord. A few years later he walked towards the approaching Mongols by force of arms. The Mongols surrendered, without crossing swords. By this act the bond with the Khanat of the Golden Hord, the center of power, situated in Sarai, at the lower course of the river Volga, was broken definitely. The supremacy of the Tartars under Khan Batu, since 1239 reaching up to Moscow, was brought to an end. From then on, the Russian Empire replaced the numerous Grand Principalities that had, more or less strictly, been dependant upon the Mongolian Khan.

The colonization of the region of Siberia started upon the order of Tsar Ivan IV., "The Terrible" (1533-1584). He authorized the merchants family Stroganov in 1558, to establish settlements in the West Siberian area, root the forests out and extract salt. By the assistance of the Don-Cossacks who had refuged to the Ural area, under the rule of Hetman (General) Ermak Timofeyev, a thrust was achieved between 1583-1585 up to the tributaries behind the Ural and subjected the Principality of Sibir (Khanat of Sibir).

First they built up protection facilities [settlements], (setch) and backing points (stanitsa), forts for soldiers and their families that were governed by a commander (ataman). Later on they were followed by fur hunters, farmers, missionaries, exiles, traders and craftsmen. The fur trade and the production of precious metal lured people into this area, since it was easily acessible by the waterways. When gold was found in Tomsk, a quick upswing began. It went hand in hand with the opression and partial destruction of the Siberian peoples, that were all named 'Tartars' at that period.

- History of Altaiski Kray (Barnaul)

The Altaiski Kray in southern Siberia was colonized only a hundred years later. The Russification started at the right-side banks of the Ob, by establishment of the settlement and the construction of the prison of Kusnetsk in 1618. The violent resistance of the settlers living there (1) had to be crushed. The subjected had to pay tribute (Yassak). With the allocation of loans and the introduction of alcohol the traders stimulated the impoverishment of the original population. The christianization and struggle against the traditional shamanism added to this trend. For the construction of fortresses and prisons manpower was recruited from the settled tribes of natives, as well as from migrants. The extending mineral resources in the Altaiski Kray and the so-called Ore-Altai, mainly iron, hard coal and salt, were of significant importance for the Russian economy. Steelworks with smallers melting furnaces were built up. Already existing metal industry by residents was industrialized and improved.

  • (1) These were most of all the Torguts and the Kalmuks, whose original homeland was the northern Dsungaria. Peoples, who professed the Buddhistic religion in its Lamaistic form (in contrast to the Islamic tribes, e.g. the Kazakhs or Kirgizes), originally settled north west from Astrakhan.

    In 17th century, a part of them migrated to the steppes between Volga, Ural and the west Siberian lowlands, making their living as nomades by cattle breeding. They were named "Kalmuks", deriving from the Turkish vocabulary 'kalmak' = remain, since they only returned to their original homeland, the Dsungaria, years later, around 1771. Restistance was also offered by the minor Turk-tribes like the Tunguses, Abakan-Tartars (nowadays named Khakases), and others, who inhabited the wooded foot-hills that follow the Siberian lowland, and the predominating plains beside this mountain, at the river Yenisey. They mainly lived from agriculture.

While the newly conquered areas were first essentially inhabited by soldiers, Don- or Saporozh'ye-Cossacks, later on there followed workmen, adventurers, specialists and also the so-called "Old Believers" (2), who settled there. New settlements were established in the whole Altaiski Kray. Towns and economic centers developed from the ancient villages.

The most important one is Barnaul, founded in 1771. Today it counts 596.000 inhabitants. Further towns are: Biysk, Rubtsovsk, Novoaltaysk and Tsarinsk. In the region of the Altaiski Kray considerable climate conditions take place: long, chilly winters and short, hot summers. In January the temperature decreases to 40 Celsius below zero, whilst in July the thermometer shows 35 Celsius above zero. The Kulundinskaya steppe extends its surface to 60 per cent, mainly consisting of pines, in which there live red deer and rodents. Next to this area, at the left bank of the river Ob, are the Priobskoye highlands (approx. 250-300 meters above sea level). They are covered with larches, white fir trees and cedars. In the south-east, where the region borders on the actual eastern Kasakhstan, mountains raise up to 2421 meters. Beside there are the Altai-Mountains, where the river Katun and Biya have their sources. This region offers the lake with the longest extension, the so-called Kulundisnkoye Ozero (Golden Lake). Elks, foxes, wolves, bears as well as Marals (dee world) belong to the fauna of this area.

  • (2) Old Believers: Under Tsar Alexei I (1645-1676), the Quiet One, Patriarch Nikon (1605-1681) had tried to cleanse lithurgy from infiltrated discrepancies and to re-integrate rites of the Byzantine Church, which was met by strong resistance on the side of the Old Believers.


- Songs of Region Altaiski Kray


1. Po ruch'yu - Three drakes swim along the brook
Lyrical song recorded in 1984 by Olga Abramova in the village of Kamishenka, Petropavlovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), gùsli (wood zither), svirel (reed pipe), Elena Sazontova: alt, kugikly (tubular wood block), Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, kugikly (tubular wood block), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register), kugikly (tubular wood block)


2. Podkashona travka - Mown grass
Lyrical song recorded in 1984 by Olga Abramova in the village of Kamishenka, Petropavlovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

A young man fell in love with a young woman and has hence lost his freedom.


3. Vecher devki - In the evening, the young women met
Dance song recorded in 1980 by Olga Abramova in the village of Vorobyovo, Shipunovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), bayan (accordion), svirel (reed pipe), Elena Sazontova: alt, Dmitri Olkhovski: spoons, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

In the evening, the young women met. Suddenly an unexpected guest arrived. The women greeted him with a rod and chased him away.


4. Ne polati gryanuli - There is no thunder
Bridal song of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan).
- Elena Sazontova: alt, Irina Borodina: sopran

The wedding song was performed when the groom and his native came behind the bride. The term "On hands" means giving back the bride into the hands of groom and his native. The term "In a floor" means that bride and groom are asked of her/his agreement before the continutation of the wedding in the church.

The groom has come to take the bride away from her parents' home.


5. Vyplyvala da seraya utka - A grey duck swam....
Bridal song recorded in 1998 by Igor and Lena Sazontov in the village of Bezgolosovo, Aleyski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

A grey duck swam out of the dense reeds. Her shaking and her dress are pleasing.


6. Oy, da gryanul grom - There was thunder.
Bridal song of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan), recorded in 1985 by Olga Abramova in the village of Vidrikha, Shemonaikhinski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

There was thunder and there was rain. The young man, the son-in-law, wants to get what belongs to him. He does not want the horse the father-in-law offers him. He does not want the cow the mother-in-law offers him. He wants the bride the sister is escorting.


7. Oy, ne po moryu-moryu - Not on the sea....
Bridal song recorded in 1998 by Igor and Lena Sazontov in the village of Bezgolosovo, Aleyski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), gùsli (wood zither), svirel (reed pipe), Elena Sazontova: alt, violin, Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register), kugikli (tubular wood block)

The four ducks were not swimming on the sea but rather in the distance. And the fifth duck was swimming ahead and peeped into the Bojar's house. There the guests were dancing, and young Manja was crying.


8. Dorozhis', bratets - Don't sell your sister for cheap
Bridal song of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan), recorded in 1985 by Olga Abramova in the village of Vidrikha, Shemonaikhinski Rayon.
- Elena Sazontova: alt, Irina Borodina: sopran

Don't sell your sister for cheap; ask for a thousand for the blond tail, and for the white face ask for the world. But the brother sold his sister for presents; he sold the blond tail for the wedding cake, the white face he gave for free.


9. Poydyom dybom
- Let us start with something incredible
Lyrical song of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan).
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

Let's go to the house. First comes the young woman out of the house, then the young man, and finally the parents-in-law come out.


10. Anton - moya dushechka - Anton, my soul
Humorous song recorded in 1998 by Igor and Lena Sazontov in the village of Bezgolosovo, Aleyski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), bayan (accordion), balalaika, Elena Sazontova: alt, Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, spoons, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

A woman calls her husband "my soul, my little gossip". She comes back from the market where she has sold the horse and bought a goose for the money, and where she left her money and her shoes.

Another wife did not like her husband very much, but in the night she was very nice to him. She baked him a garlic cake and combed his hair with a shoe.


11. Kak pod nashi vorota - Underneath the gate....
Roundelay recorded in 1984 by Olga Abramova in the village of Sibiryatchikha, Soloneshenski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

Underneath the gate there flows the water, there grows the grass. There husband and wife wander and talk; about how to live on, and if they had money, how they could buy a fur coat for the wife, and that they then could even sleep on the fur so that it would be softer. The wife, however, thinks about how she can lure the man under the mountain to skin him. The woman is still young and she really loves to dance.


12. Tolokno - With ground oatmeal....
Humorous song of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan), recorded in 1985 by Olga Abramova in the village of Livino, Glubokovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: balalaika, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Dmitri Olkhovski: spoon, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

A woman sent her husband with ground oatmeal to the market. She has, however, bought wine for herself, invited guests and got drunk. As the husband came back home, he beat her up. He saw his children starving and freezing, and he began to cry.


13. Da vo pole berezon'ka stoyala - To the field where a birch is growing
Roundelay of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan), recorded in 1985 by Olga Abramova in the village of Parigino, Ziryanovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

A woman wants to go to the field where a birch is growing. She wants to gather some twigs to make three flutes. She asks the flutes not to make a sound so that the parents will stay asleep. The father is still asleep as he has the blues, the mother is still asleep with a hangover, and her husband is asleep after yesterday's party. She asks her husband to wake and get up and wash his face.


14. Oy, da nashcheplyu ya khmelyu - I pick hops...
Bridal song of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan).
- Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

I pick hops, I cook beer, and I invite a dear guest. He will drink beer but will forget to thank me. He will not lay down in bed and kiss me.


15. Vsadnichki, bystro v pokhod cobiraytes' - Riders, get ready quickly for our crusade
Cossack song of Rudni Altay (Eastern Kazakhstan), recorded in he village of Bolshenarim.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), svirel (reed pipe), Elena Sazontova: alt, Dmitri Olkhovski: percusion

Riders, get ready quickly for our crusade. Get on your horses. The horses are restless, the guide rides in front. We ride into a far away country, we ride to defend our borders. Young women look out of the windows, they wave us good-bye. Good-bye, girls, good-bye, young women!


16. Oy podymalisaya tumani - Fog is growing
Lyrical Cossack song recorded in 1980 by Olga Abramova in the village of Pervokamenka, Tretyakovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), Elena Sazontova: alt, Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

Song about the soldiers, which leave (abandon) the house and sent in a campaign. They missing the wives and the native land.

Fog is growing, soldiers leave. They look back to their houses where their young wives stay behind.


17. Oy, da vstanem, brattsy - Let us get up, brothers
Cossack song recorded in 1998 by Igor and Lena Sazontov in the village of Bezgolosovo, Aleyski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), Elena Sazontova: alt

Let us get up, brothers, and let us sing a song about our harsh soldier life. In the headquarters, the commanders sit and issue orders.


18. Bezhit rechka - A small brook flows...
Lyrical song of the Ural.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

A small brook flows, the horse asks the Cossack to set him free. The Cossack really would like to do so, but he is afraid of missing his love.


19. Da ya vzoidu na goru.- I climb up the mountain
Roundelay recorded in 1984 by Olga Abramova in the village of Sibiryatchikha, Soloneshenski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

I climb up the mountain and let go the arrow. Fly, my arrow, fly along the street and kill the young man. Nobody will shed tears over him. The mother cries like a river. The sister cries like a brook. The wife cries the way dew covers the floor. With sunrise, the dew fades away.


20. Rozhdestvo tvoyo, Khriste Bozhe nash. - Your Christmas, Jesus Christ, our God
Lithurgical chant recorded in 1999 by Olga Abramova in the village of Kamishenka, Petropavlovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt

This prayer was sung at Christmas. The village people carried a star through the village and praised Jesus Christ.

God, we praise you. Your light in the sky reveals the truth. We bow to you and see you at the Eastern firmament. God, be fame and glory with you! The virgin gives birth to a son. The three kings follow the way of the star. A God is born for us.


21. Khristos Voskres - Jesus Christ has risen from the dead
Lithurgical chant recorded in 1999 by Olga Abramova in the village of Kamishenka, Petropavlovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

This prayer was sung at home at Easter.

Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and with his death he has conquered death.


22. Dva putnitka-rasputnichka po dorozhke shli - Two wanderers travelled around
Lyrical song recorded in 1998 by Igor and Lena Sazontov in the village of Bezgolosovo, Aleyski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, Elena Sazontova: alt

Two wanderers (rakes) travelled around and came to visit a young woman. Old woman, let us spend the night here, and tell us where your daughter is. Her daughter is bedded in a coffin, a little lamp burns nearby.


23. My ranyoshen'ko vstavali - We rose very early
Spring song,. arranged by Ensemble Pesnokhorki.
- Igor Sazontov: bariton, vladimir horn, Elena Sazontova: alt, svirel (reed pipe), Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, svirel (reed pipe), Irina Borodina: soprane (high register), svirel (reed pipe)

We rose very early, we washed our faces and dried them with a cloth. We went to the field, we put up crosses and asked Jegorij to defend our cattle on the field and in the wood from bears and wolves. Aunt Anaisja, please, wake up quickly, get dressed, give the first egg to Jegorij, but we deserve the second egg for our efforts.


24. Ty, roshchitsa - In the green grove...
Lyrical Cossack song recorded in 1980 by Olga Abramova in the village of Pervokamenka, Tretyakovski Rayon,
- Olga Abramova: alt, Elena Sazontova: alt (lead singer), Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

In the green grove, a young woman went for a walk, and she lost a ring. She looked for the ring for three days, and then she set the grove on fire.


25. Stradania po-kamenski
Humorous song (couplets).
- Igor Sazontov: soloist, bayan (accordion), Elena Sazontova: soloist, Dmitri Olkhovski: spoons, Irina Borodina: soloists

The authors improvise, according to their mood and sentiment, to different themes and situations of life. These are in Russian also called " Tshastushki", this is "little titbits".

- Couplet singing: historical songs, psalms, playing in Ensemble and playing the kobza (plucked lute) or lyric songs with a strophic structure, kolyadky (hymns or songs of praise), marches and other ritual folk-tunes in the form of the singing-dancing.


26. Vniz po matushke po Volga - There is a gale blowing on the Volga...
Lyrical Cossack song recorded in 1998 by Igor and Lena Sazontov in the village of Bezgolosovo, Aleyski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), Elena Sazontova: alt, Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register)

There is a gale blowing on the Volga, nothing can be seen, nothing can be heard. Only a black boat can be seen.


27. Oy, ty Khon'ka-Makhon'ka moya - Oy dyou, my Honjka-Mahonjka
Humorous song recorded in 1995 by Olga Abramova in the village of Pervorossiyskoe, Ziryanovski Rayon.
- Igor Sazontov: tenor (lead singer), bayan (accordion), svirel (reed pipe), Elena Sazontova: alt, violin, Dmitri Olkhovski: bass, Irina Borodina: sopran (high register), kugikly (tubular wood block)

Oy you, my Honjka-Mahonjka. Love me only a bit! Is this my Honjka, my love, walking by? My honest mother never ate stolen bread and fried piglet. Has anybody ever seen, has anybody ever heard that a calf was born by a chicken, that a piglet laid an egg and put in on the shelf? There an old woman gabbled and appeared at the dance at night. And her crutch danced with the spade.


The Cossacks

The Cossackdom is one of the most original and significant appearances of Russian history. In the 16th century cossack communities developed in the southwest, southern and southeast, in the region of Moscow, in Belarus and the Ukraine. They accomplished a great deal for the Russian with the colonization of conquered territories and the defense of same. They also influenced the state's interior law-and-order and the historical evaluation of the country.

More information on Cossacks please find in the first two records of the Ensemble Pesnokhorki - Vol. I,
FM 50017 and Vol. II, FM 50019, published by Face Music as well as in the record of the Ukrainian Ensemble Khreshchaty Yar - Vol. I, FM FM 50031.

- map sketch Region Barnaul - Siberia


- The traditional vocal music of Russia

Traditional Russian music is predominantly heterephonic: the same melody is distributed among different voice parts, with one leading voice, mostly in a middle register. The lead singer (sapevála) determines the course of the melody, and the other voices come in later. This heterophonic group singing is often embellished by an independent voice in a very high register (podgolóssok).

The principle of heterophony allows the principal voice much space for improvisation, continuous variation, and embellishment. It has also an effect on the lyrics, in so far as single words or phrases are lengthened by means of vocalisms or enlarged with additional syllables. This type of choral singing can be frequently found in whole Russia, the Siberian area of those being re-settled as well as in Central Ukraine, in the steppes and in the Eastern Ukraine, where also lyrical ballads are very popular.

There is a rich repertory of many famous cossack songs and traditional dances. This music has its roots in a centuries old oral tradition of bylina (epics, heroic narrative poetry) and dumas, that is long lyrical ballads glorifying the exploits of the cossacks.

Festivities in the village community and in the families offered opportunities for singing. Apart from dance songs, we can also found so-called Chorowódy (roundelay - round dances), who are an integral part of certain holidays in the calendar. Bridal courtship, the bride leaving her parents and other wedding songs find their musical expression in a whole cycle with such round dances.

According to the rather different origin of the settlers, the traditional music of the Russian population (the inhabitants of Russia) in the Southern Altai in the Siberian area is very manifold. There can be found a diversity of dialects and forms who have been mixed and developed, apart from the cossacks whose origin is also a rather diverse one (South Russian from the Don and the Donets in the Ukraine, respectively, the so-called Zaporozh'ye Cossacks).

In the Altai there have settled the Old Believers who opposed the reforms of the Orthodox rites initiated by the Patriarch Nikon and had been persecuted since 1667 by the Russian Orthodox Church als heretics. As these heretics were primarily persons deported in the name of Catherin II from Belarus and the Ukraine, former subjects of the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom, they have been called Poles ever since. Also Catholics from this area have found a refuge here.

Traditional folk music is the Russians' life and soul. The songs tell about the history of this people, describe the landscape, the folk's character and the people's qualities. They also speak about the ethics and rules of social life. These songs are a real treasure that has been preserved up to date. They can be classified in various genres as well as in ritual and non-ritual songs.

More information about
Traditional Music and Instruments of the Russian and Siberian people

Many thanks to the good soul of Lyudmilla Morger, Zimi and to the
Centre Pesnokhorki. Revision by Hermelinde Steiner.

Igor, Elena, Dmitri, Irina

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Dmitri, Irina, Igor and Elena

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