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The Afterlife of a Russian Bard

The influence of Vladimir Vysotsky, who would have been 75 this week, reaches far beyond his homeland

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Vladimir Vysotsky.(Irina/Flickr)

Vladimir Vysotsky, Russia’s beloved balladeer, would have turned 75 this week. Though he died more than three decades ago, at the age of 42, he is still revered as a singer and poet who captured the mood, and the soul, of a dejected generation. But while Vysotsky’s music and persona clearly spoke to a particular time and place (the USSR in the post-Stalinist “Thaw” era), his songs have been adopted by social movements all over the world, including, most recently, Israel’s tent protesters during the summer of 2011.

Today, on Vox Tablet, Liel Leibovitz looks at the too-short life, and enduring afterlife, of this remarkable man and considers what it is that makes his ballads so resonant for so many. [Running time: 10:11.] 

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Excellent reporting. One minor clarification, though. Vysotskii died of drug (not alcohol) overdose.

A great podcast, thank you. Wysocki is the (!) voice of non-conformism, just think about his fantastic song “Wolf hunt” (an excerpt was played during the podcast). It was especially interesting to see how a soviet poet influenced today’s Israeli culture.

Marina Sapir says:

The author did not mention couple of important things about Vysotsky: he was a great actor, played in theater an movies. All his roles become favorites, an important part of Russian mass culture. I did not see the movies for more than 20 years, but I remember them well. Don Juan is one of his best roles, I think. He was irresistible, indeed. Also, he wrote great prose too.

Mike says:

Thank you, really enjoyed listening to that.


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The Afterlife of a Russian Bard

The influence of Vladimir Vysotsky, who would have been 75 this week, reaches far beyond his homeland

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