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Entries / Rock music

Rock music

Categories / Art/Music, Theatre

ROCK MUSIC (rock-'n'-roll), a form of mass music culture. Since its introduction in Leningrad in the late 1960s, it was popular predominantly with students, bringing on the adoption of Anglo-American youth music behaviour, first and foremost that of The Beetles). The first Russian rock groups, including Rossiyane, Sankt-Peterburg, Mify, Zemlyane, Zoopark, Posledny Shans, Shestoe Chuvstvo, Bolshoy Zhelezny Kolokol and others, renounced the ideologically impregnated mass Soviet music, which dominated on the public stage. During its formation period, rock music aimed to acquire and master a specific instrumental and vocal style, forming bands by copying ("scumming") records from leading Western groups, adopting a swing-like intonation and rhythm. The first Leningrad rock musicians reinterpreted the Russian city chanson, using the dissenting ambiguity of the bard song and invoking the finest Russian poetry in their lyrics to counteract their imitation of Western rock cliches. During the 1970s, rock music gradually established itself in the USSR as a sui generis youth music ideology, though until the 1980s it was confined to the underground. In an attempt to smooth the ideological confrontation, a rock club was established at the Leningrad Inter-Union House of Amateur Culture (13 Rubinsteina Street). On the one hand, the rock club secured the musicians' right to play the style professionally (paid performances, permission to publicly sing lyrics, chances to record music, purchase instruments and equipment, organise rock music festivals); on the other hand, it aided the ideological control of the rock community's life and work process. The mainstream acceptance of rock music during its heyday helped develop rock criticism (samizdat [underground press] magazines Roksi, 1977-90, RIO, 1986-?). Contemporary Russian rock music's characteristic style finally took shape by the 1980s. During this time, Leningrad rock music was at the forefront of the rock-'n'-roll movement in the USSR. The social content of the song's texts, their underdeveloped lyrical aspect and protest-dominated thematic, their aggressive sound, and non-acceptance of commercial pop-music, all distinguished mature national rock music from its Western counterpart. A number of rock groups rose to fame due to the talent and personal charisma of their front-men, who wrote the music, lyrics, and were the lead singers. Rock's main styles included: post punk (Akvarium, B. Grebenshchikov; Kino, V. Tsoy; AuktsYon, O.Garkusha; Avtomaticheskie udovletvoriteli, А. Panov; as well as AVIA, Strannye igry, Obyekt nasmeshek); hard-rock (DDT, Y. Shevchuk; Alisa, K. Kinchev; also Televizor, Prisutstvie); art-rock (Dzhungli, Sezon dozhdey, Tamburin, Okhota romanticheskikh ikh); folk-rock (Nol, F. Chistyakov; Yabloko), and conceptualist rock (Pop-mekhanika, S. Kuryekhin). Many of the groups still perform today. Because of commercialisation and its convergence with pop-music and show business, the 1990s saw a decline in the influence that rock music once had on Saint Petersburg youth culture. Most of the popular groups which have appeared in recent times (Splin, Korol i shut, Leningrad, Kradenoe solntse, Tequila-jazz and others) do not adhere to a single style, totally blurring rock music stereotypes. Yet rock music is extensively covered by all Petersburg mass media, particularly during segments on contemporary Russian entertainment, and on the Roks radio station, which regularly features programs about the most prominent rock groups.

References: Рекшан В. Кайф // Нева. 1988. № 3. С. 111-149; Житинский А. Н. Путешествие рок-дилетанта. Л., 1990; Рок. 1955/1991: Информ.-справ. изд. СПб., 1992.

L. N. Berezovchuk.

Chistyakov Fedor
Garkusha Oleg Nikolaevich
Grebenshchikov Boris Borisovich
Kinchev (Panfilov) Konstantin Evgenievich
Kurekhin Sergey Anatolievich
Panov Andrey Valerievich
Shevchuk Yury Yulianovich
Tsoy Viktor Robertovich

Rubinsteina St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 13

Рекшан В. О. Кайф // Нева, 1988
Рок, 1955/1991: Информ.-справ. изд. СПб., 1992
Житинский А. Н. Путешествие рок-дилетанта. Л., 1990