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(currently three different bands claim this name)
Pesniary (also spelled Pesnyary, Belarusian: Песняры, [pʲesʲnʲaˈrɨ]) was a popular Soviet Belarusian folk rock VIA. It was founded in 1969 by guitarist Vladimir Mulyavin. Before 1970 the band was known under the name Liavony (Лявоны).
Pesniary combined various types of music, but it mostly used Belarusian folklore though often with various psychedelic rock elements and later rock as well. Several of the Pesniary's songs were composed by Alexandra Pakhmutova. The band often used lyrics from the famous Russian and Belarusian poets of the past. Pesniary's favourite was Yanka Kupala. The band adapted his poems into stage musicals twice: Pesnia o Dole (Song of Fate, 1976) and Guslar (1980), the latter also released as concept album.
Among their best known song are "Kasiu Jas Kaniushynu", "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", "Belorussiya" and "Alesia".
Pesniary was the best-known Soviet group coming from the Belorussian SSR. It was one of the very few (and possibly the first) Soviet bands to tour in America in 1976. They've toured the South of the USA together with a folk band The New Christy Minstrels. 1974-1980 is considered the Golden Age era of the band when it achieved top popularity in the USSR, in Eastern Europe and in other countries.
In 1979, after the success of rock opera Guslar, the whole band was awarded the honorary title Meritorious Artist of the Soviet Union, and Mulyavin personally received a higher title of People's artist.
After band's leader Vladimir Muliavin death in a car accident on 26 January 2003, the original Pesniary split. Currently, three different bands laid claims to be the official descendants of the original "Pesniary" band. They are:
- Belarusian State Ensemble Pesniary - state-produced band under Ministry of Culture of Belarus, consisting mostly of young musicians.
- "Belorusskie Pesniari" led by former Pesniary saxophonist Uladzislau Misevich
- "Pesniari" led by former Pesniary vocalist Leanid Bartkevich.
All three keep touring and performing original Pesniary songs.
|1971||Ты мне вясною прыснiлася||Ty mnie viasnoju prysnilasia||I dreamt of you in spring|
|1982||Зачарованная моя||Zacharovannaya maya||My Enchanted (live album)|
|1984||Через всю войну||Cherez vsyu voynu||Throughout the Whole War|
There are also dozens of singles.
The lineup of the band was changing frequently. Among the most notable and long-living band members were:
- Vladimir Muliavin (guitar, 1968–2003)
- Valery Muliavin (guitar, 1968–1973)
- Leonid Bartkevich (vocals, 1969–1980)
- Anatoly Kasheparov (vocals, 1970–1990)
- Valery Dayneka (vocals, alto, 1976–1992)
- Leanid Tyshko (bass guitar, 1968–1981)
- Vladislav Misevich (saxophone, flute, 1968–1992)
- Alexander Demeshko (drums, 1968–1988)
- Vladimir Nikolajev (keyboards, 1971–1980)