Songs based on Yesenin's poems? Balalike it!

For those who don’t think that Russian music ends with the last chord of balalaika we would like to present our audio-podcast devoted to the contemporary Russian music. It’s up to you to decide whether you like it or even... balalike it.

On September 21 (October 3rd), 1895, one of Russia’s most beloved poets was born in the village of Konstantinovo in the Ryazan province: Sergei Yesenin. Yesenin started to write in his youth. His writing consisted of lyrics on themes connected to village life, love for his homeland, and closeness to folklore. Later on, he became close to another literary movement of the Russia Silver Age, imaginism.

It’s worth noting that the poet’s popularity was due not only his wonderful and unique poems. Yesenin is so well-known in many things thanks to his reputation. The poet was a rather scandalous character. 

On December 28, 1925, Yesenin was found dead at the Hotel Angleterre in St. Petersburg. His last poem, “Good bye, my friend, good bye…" was given to Wolf Ehrlich, according to his testimony, on the day before. Yesenin complained that there was no ink in his room, so he had to write in his own blood. According to the version that is now widely-accepted among academic researchers of Yesenin’s life, the poet ended his life in a state of depression by suicide (hanging), a week after he had finished treatment at a mental hospital. 

Yesenin’s lyrics have inspired musicians on multiple occasions. On Wikipedia, there are approximately 200 compositions in the list of songs based on Yesenin’s poems, among which there are predominantly Soviet romance songs and ballads. Yesenin’s modern poems can also be heard in rap (“Letter to a Woman” by Misha Mavashi), pagan metal (“I Won’t Deceive Myself” by the band ‘Nevid’), and indie folk (“Spinning Blue Fire by the band ‘The Retuses’)…We’ll present some of these songs in our selection.


1)  Misha Mavashi - Pismo k zhenschine (Letter to the woman)

2) Mongol Shuudan - Moskva 

3) Va-bank - Do svidaniya (Good bye)

4) Alexander Vertinsky - Katorzhnaya (Penal song)

5) Kot Balu - Shagane

6) The Retuses - Shagane

7) Arkady Severniy - Klen ti moi (My maple)

8) Kukriniksy - Poi zhe poi na proklyatoi gitare (Sing, sing with the damned guitar)

9) Eduard Khil - Pismo k materi (Letter to the mother)

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