Russian Bards: Their Professions

Bulat Okudzhava

Russian bard songs, which originated in the mid-twentieth century, were written not by professionals but by amateurs. They created in their spare timeby drawing inspiration from everyday life.

Alexander Galich – Actor and Playwright

During World War II Galich worked as an actor, then he wrote plays for theater and movie scripts. In the 1960s he began performing his songs, accompanying himself on a guitar. Authorities banned Galich from performing and he had to emigrate.

Alexander Galich

Bulat Okudzhava – Philologist

Returning from the war after the end of World War II, Okudzhava graduated from the Department of philology. He then worked as a teacher of the Russian language and literature, and the editor in a newspaper. He began writing poetry as a child, and the first song was written during the war. Okudzhava is rightly considered one of the founders of the Russian bard song genre.

Bulat Okudzhava

Vladimir Vysotsky – Actor

After graduating from the Moscow Art Theater School Vysotsky worked as an actor in a famous Taganka Theater and acted in films. In the early 1960s he performed his first songs in small circles of friends. Vysotsky became famous after the movie “Vertical” where he starred and performed his songs. The actor came under attacked by the authorities. Only in the 70s he got a chance to travel abroad and perform freely. Vysotsky concerts gathered full houses;the whole country listened to his songs. He was the most popular singer of that time.

Vladimir Vysotsky

Yuri Vizbor – Russian Language Teacher

His whole life Vizbor was in search, changed professions. After graduation he worked as a teacher in school, during World War II he was a radio operator. In the postwar years he became a radio journalist. Vizbor traveled a lot, enjoyed mountaineering and downhill skiing.

Yuri Vizbor

Alexander Rosenbaum – Doctor

Rosenbaum followed in his parents’ footsteps and became an emergency physician. After graduation for nine years he worked as an ambulance doctor. Both in his student days, and while being a doctor, he had been writing and performing his own songs.

Alexander Rosenbaum

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