The Song of the Volga Boatmen

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"Эй, ухнем!"
[ɛj ˈuxnʲəm]
English: The Song of the Volga Boatmen
Ilia Efimovich Repin (1844-1930) - Volga Boatmen (1870-1873).jpg
Russian folk song
Recorded on date before 1862
Field recording(s) from Nikolay Aleynikov (by M. Balakirev in Nizhny Novgorod in 1860 or 1861)
First publication before 1867
Notable song book(s) A collection of Russian folk songs by M. Balakirev (Russian: «Сборникъ русскихъ народныхъ пѣсенъ»; 1866)
Composer(s) M. Balakirev (before 1867), F. Koenemann, M. de Falla (1922), G. Miller (before 1942); etc.
In music Ey, ukhnem! (a piece by A. Glazunov)
Notable performer(s) Feodor Chaliapin, Alexandrov Ensemble, Glenn Miller Band; etc.
First released recording
Title of the recording Эй, ухнем (disc; #22086)
Released 1900
Record label Gramophone
Artist Alexander Makarov-Yunev
Audio sample
An early record by Feodor Chaliapin

The "Song of the Volga Boatmen" (known in Russian as Эй, ухнем! [Ey, ukhnem!, "yo, heave-ho!"], after the refrain) is a well-known traditional Russian song collected by Mily Balakirev, and published in his book of folk songs in 1866.[1] It was sung by burlaks, or barge-haulers, on the Volga River. Balakirev published it with only one verse (the first). The other two verses were added at a later date. Ilya Repin's famous painting, Barge Haulers on the Volga, depicts such burlaks in Tsarist Russia toiling along the Volga.

The song was popularised by Feodor Chaliapin, and has been a favourite concert piece of bass singers ever since. Glenn Miller's jazz arrangement took the song to #1 in the US charts in 1941. Russian composer Alexander Glazunov based one of the themes of his symphonic poem "Stenka Razin" on the song. Spanish composer Manuel De Falla wrote an arrangement of the song, which was published under the name Canto de los remeros del Volga (del cancionero musical ruso) in 1922.[2] He did so at the behest of diplomat Ricardo Baeza, who was working with the League of Nations to provide financial relief for the more than two million Russian refugees who had been displaced and imprisoned during World War I.[2] All proceeds from the song's publication were donated to this effort.[2] Igor Stravinsky made an arrangement for orchestra.

First publications and recordings

A version of the song was recorded by Mily Balakirev (a Russian composer) from Nikolay Aleynikov in Nizhny Novgorod in 1860 or 1861. Already in 1866, the musician published it in his book A collection of Russian folk songs by M. Balakirev (Russian: «Сборникъ русскихъ народныхъ пѣсенъ»; 1866), with his own arrangement.[3][4][5]

Probably, the first released version of the song was recorded in Russia in 1900 by Alexander Makarov-Yunev (Russian: Александр Макаров-Юнев) on Gramophone (#22086).[6]

Lyrics

Russian Transliteration (Poetic) English translation
Эй, ухнем!
Эй, ухнем!
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Эй, ухнем!
Эй, ухнем!
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Разовьём мы берёзу,
Разовьём мы кудряву!
Ай-да, да ай-да,
Aй-да, да ай-да,
Разовьём мы кудряву.
Разовьём мы кудряву.
Эй, ухнем!
Эй, ухнем!
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Мы по бережку идём,
Песню солнышку поём.
Ай-да, да ай-да,
Aй-да, да ай-да,
Песню солнышку поём.
Эй, эй, тяни канат сильней!
Песню солнышку поём.
Эй, ухнем!
Эй, ухнем!
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Эх ты, Волга, мать-река,
Широка и глубока,
Ай-да, да ай-да,
Aй-да, да ай-да,
Волга, Волга, мать-река
Эй, ухнем!
Эй, ухнем!
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Эй, ухнем!
Эй, ухнем!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Yeshcho razik, yeshcho da raz!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Yeshcho razik, yeshcho da raz!
Razovyom my byeryozu,
Razovyom my kudryavu!
Ai-da, da ai-da,
Ai-da, da ai-da,
Razovyom my kudryavu.
Razovyom my kudryavu.
Ey, ukhnyem!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Yeshcho razik, yeshcho da raz!
My po byeryezhku idyom,
Pyesnyu solnyshku poyom.
Ai-da, da ai-da,
Ai-da, da ai-da,
Pyesnyu solnyshku poyom.
Ey, Ey, tyani kanat silney!
Pyesnyu solnyshku poyom.
Ey, ukhnyem!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Yeshcho razik, yeshcho da raz!
Ekh, ty, Volga, mat'-reka,
Shiroka i gluboka,
Ai-da, da ai-da,
Ai-da, da ai-da,
Volga, Volga, mat'-reka
Ey, ukhnyem!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Yeshcho razik, yeshcho da raz!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Ey, ukhnyem!
Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho!
Once more, once again, still once more
Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho!
Once more, once again, still once more
Now we fell the stout birch tree,
Now we pull hard: one, two, three.
Ay-da, da, ay-da!
Ay-da, da, ay-da!
Now we pull hard: one, two, three.
Now we pull hard: one, two, three.
Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho!
Once more, once again, still once more
As we walk along the shore,
To the sun we sing our song.
Ay-da, da, ay-da!
Ay-da, da, ay-da!
To the sun we sing our song.
Hey, hey, let's heave a-long the way
to the sun we sing our song
Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho!
Once more, once again, still once more
Oh, you, Volga, mother river,
Mighty stream so deep and wide.
Ay-da, da, ay-da!
Ay-da, da, ay-da!
Volga, Volga, mother river.
Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho!
Once more, once again, still once more
Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho!

Notable recordings and arrangements

The song was arranged by Feodor Koenemann for Chaliapin. That Chaliapin's version became one of the most popular in Russia and has been released several times (e.g., in 1922, 1927, 1936).[3][7]

In 1905, Alexander Glazunov created his piece Ey, ukhnem based on the Balakirev's tune.[3][8]

A translated vocal version was sung by Paul Robeson.

The Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler recorded the Glazunov arrangement of the tune in New York City on June 30, 1937.

The song, or at least the tune, was popularized in the mid-20th Century through an instrumental jazz version played by the Glenn Miller Band.[9] Glenn Miller released the song as an RCA Bluebird 78 single, B-11029-A, in 1941 in a swing jazz arrangement which reached no. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart in a 10-week chart run.[10] Not in copyright, the song was not subject to the 1941 ASCAP boycott, allowing for more radio play that year.[11]

In 1965 Leonid Kharitonov with the Russian Red Army Choir released a recording.

The Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson arranged an instrumental version for jazz trio (Pråmdragarnas sång vid Volga) on his album "Jazz På Ryska"(1967).[12]

Modern popular culture

1941 recording by Glenn Miller, RCA Bluebird, B-11029-A.

The memorable tune of The Song of the Volga Boatmen has led to its common usage in many musical situations, particularly as background music, often with the theme of unremitting toil (or, alternatively, devotion to duty). Some uses, particularly those portending doom or despair, employ only the iconic four-note beginning; others go so far as to add new, often wryly humorous, lyrics, such as the "Birthday Dirge".[13] Some usages only acknowledge the tune's Russian heritage; very few use the original lyrics (for instance its use as the introductory theme of the Soviet boxer, Soda Popinski, in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!).

Instances include:

In computer games the tune is used in much the same way

See also

References

  1. ^ Fuld, James J. (2000). The book of world-famous music: classical, popular, and folk. Courier Dover. p. 520. 
  2. ^ a b c Hess, Carol A. Sacred Passions: The Life and Music of Manuel de Falla, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 134. ISBN 0-19-514561-5.
  3. ^ a b c Е. В. Гиппиус (1962). "Эй, ухнем": "Дубинушка" : история песен (in Russian). Сов. композитор. 
  4. ^ Записки Императорскаго русскаго географическаго общества по отдѣленію этнографіи (in Russian). 
  5. ^ Гиппиус, Е. В. Русские народные песни (in Russian). 
  6. ^ Грюнберг П. Н.; Янин В. Л. История начала грамзаписи в России. Каталог вокальных записей Российского отделения компании "Граммофон" (in Russian). М.: Языки славянской культуры. p. 235. 
  7. ^ Е. А. Грошева, ed. (1960). Шаляпин (in Russian). II. Москва: Искусство. pp. 516, 517, 519. 
  8. ^ Ванслов, В. В. (1950). Симфоническое творчество А.К. Глазунова (in Russian). Гос. музыкальное изд-во. 
  9. ^ YouTube: The Song of the Volga Boatmen.
  10. ^ Hoffmann, Frank (May 23, 2016). Chronology of American Popular Music, 1900-2000. London; New York: Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-415-97715-9. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  11. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 2, side B.
  12. ^ http://www.janjohansson.org/jpr.html
  13. ^ The Birthday Dirge.
  14. ^ "Gramatik - The Swing Of Justice". Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  15. ^ Niccol, Andrew (2005-09-16), Lord of War, retrieved 2016-05-28 
  16. ^ http://www.tf2sounds.com/1793#q%3Dsing
  17. ^ http://www.tf2sounds.com/475#q%3Dsing

External links

Preceded by
"Frenesi" by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
The Billboard National Best Selling Retail Records number-one single
(Glenn Miller and His Orchestra version)

March 15, 1941 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Frenesi" by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
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