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"Kalinka" (Russian: Калинка) is a Russian song written in 1860 by the composer and folklorist Ivan Larionov and first performed in Saratov as part of a theatrical entertainment that he had composed. Soon it was added to the repertory of a folk choral group.
The refrain of the song refers to the kalinka, which is the snowball tree (Viburnum opulus). It has a speedy tempo, light-hearted and cheerful lyrics. One of the main singers of this song was Evgeny Belyaev (1926-1994) who was considered to be one of the best singers of the piece.
Калинка, калинка, калинка моя!
Ах, под сосною, под зеленою,
Kalinka, kalinka, kalinka moya!
Akh, pod sosnoyu, pod zelenoyu,
Little cranberry, cranberry, cranberry of mine!
Ah, under the pine, the green one,
Recordings and cultural influence
Instrumental organ versions of this song can be found playing in North American ice hockey arenas. A techno infused version of "Kalinka" played by live organist Dave Calendine plays when Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk scores a goal.
it appeared in the 1953 film Tonight We Sing, performed by Italian American operatic bass and actor Ezio Pinza. The picture was a semi-biography of Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin who famously sang and, during the early days of recording, recorded the song for HMV/Victor. Pinza's recording was included on the 10-inch LP soundtrack album release of the same year, coincidentally from RCA Victor.
In 1993 the Welsh tenor Wynford Evans sang "Kalinka" at Cardiff Arms Park Stadium accompanied by the largest ever male choir of 10,000 voices, known as the World Choir. The concert also featured among others, Shirley Bassey and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes.
In 2000, the German female group Yamboo performed a techno/pop version of the song, using only the chorus and adding their own English lyrics to the song. Yamboo performed Kalinka in Berlin, Germany on New Years Eve the same year.
In the 2000 OVA Labyrinth of Flames, both episodes contain the song as their ending theme.
In 2003, Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC. Since then, "Kalinka" has been associated with the London based football club and is often played before or after important matches, including the Champions League clashes with FC Barcelona and the League Cup final.
Part of Kalinka can be found in the Arsenium song "Love Me, Love Me" from 2005.
In 2008, the Russian singer Alexey Vorobyov also has a song called New Russian Kalinka (in English) and Novaya Ruskaya Kalinka (in Russian), which is a cover of the song.
A video called 'Trust me I'm an Engineer' on YouTube also has some part of the song with Kalinka's notes.
In the 2013 video game Payday 2, Vlad can be found singing Kalinka after a successful heist.
In 2014, Club Penguin featured a slightly remixed version of the song to play in the players' igloos during the Muppets World Tour party.
The arrangement of Kalinka which is traditionally performed by the Alexandrov Ensemble turned the frivolous song into an operatic aria. The first Ensemble soloist to perform this was Pyotr Tverdokhlebov, but the first tenor to earn the title of Mr Kalinka was Victor Ivanovich Nikitin at the Berlin peace concert of August 1948, where he sang three encores of the song. The title is unofficial and awarded by the audience and journalists present at successful Ensemble concerts where Kalinka earns numerous encores. A definitive recording of Kalinka was made in 1963 at the Abbey Road Studios, London by the lyric tenor Evgeny Belyaev, with the Alexandrov Ensemble, under the direction of Boris Alexandrovich Alexandrov. Belyaev earned the Mr Kalinka title at the London concerts of 1956 and 1963. Since then there have been several Mr Kalinkas, including Vasily Ivanovich Shtefutsa and Vadim Petrovich Ananyev.
- Сергей Сергиевский. "Печать неизмеримой самобытности", Независимая газета, 26.11.1999
- Russian folk song and dance Kalinka, at Barynya
- Kalinka translations, song downloads and tabs, as well as other Soviet/Russian songs
- Note: "Cranberry" is not really a translation of the word "Kalinka"
- AllMusic, "Kalinka (Little Snowfall)"
- Listen2Russian, "Kalinka (Калинка)"
- "Пастораль над руинами. Германский тур Александров-ансамбля", Анатолий КОМПАНИЕЦ, The newspaper "Culture": Pastoral over the Ruins, by Anatoly Kompaniets, April 27, 2000 (Russian)
- Recorded on the CD Kalinka
- Translated RUVR Voice of Russia: Alexandrov Ensemble
- Rg.ru webpage: interview with Ensemble director Leonid Maleev, by Yadviga Yuferova, 2007 In Russian