Songs Capturing the Russian Soul

Due to the recent events (Russia-Ukraine), I tried conveying what was going on in my head to a friend who asked how I was feeling. I told him that I tried not to get caught up in things and found the stoic approach to be appropriate. (Easier said than done).

Trying to take a little distance at a times like this, is not easy but necessary. I highly recommend this read by the way: “Handbook” by Epictetus. The first time I read it in high school, it blew my mind, to be honest. This approach helped me ground myself, avoid rushing to conclusions, and find a certain sense of peace and control over my emotions.

A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus With the Encheiridion

“Of things some are in our power, and others are not.

In our power are opinion ([Greek: hupolaepsis]), movement towards a thing ([Greek: hormae]), desire, aversion ([Greek: echchlisis]), turning from a thing; and in a word, whatever are our acts.

Not in our power are the body, property, reputation, offices (magisterial power), and in a word, whatever are not our own acts.

And the things in our power are by nature free, not subject to restraint or hindrance; but the things not in our power are weak, slavish, subject to restraint, in the power of others.”

All of this had me think of my country of birth: Russia. I realized that no matter how many passports I have as of today, (see this post in case you’re wondering), I will always have a special relationship with my homeland. It’s been so long since I left but there is something really unique that happens when I hear my mother tongue.

Mother tongue: The language of heart and mind 

Mother language has a very powerful impact in the formation of the individual. Our first language, the beautiful sounds which one hears and gets familiar with before being born while in the womb, has such an important role in shaping our thoughts and emotions.

“A strong bond between a child and his parents (especially the mother) is established under love, compassion, body language, and also through the most important one, which is verbal language. When a person speaks his/her mother tongue, a direct connection is established between the heart and brain.” (Source)

“This native language (known as “mother tongue”) forms one’s identity. You are recognized by the language you speak and the culture you follow. It also has a lot to do with your ancestral methods and cultures that your ancestors followed.” (Source)

These three quotes help illustrate the fact that for me, hearing Russian warms my heart and instinctively connects me with my roots, my culture, and my ancestors. Somehow It allows me to connect with my own “Russian soul“.

1st song I love translates to “Deep”

The final piece from show “Greens” with S. N Starostin. The song called “Deep”, it was written by S. N.

DEEP

(words and music by Sergei Starostin)
Deep, deep
Water in the well
Deep, deep
underground ore
Deeper than my grief
Deeper than that
Deeper than my sorrows
Deeper than that
Wide, wide
The river has spilled
Wide, wide
scattered meadows
Wide, wide
The fields sprawled
Wider than that light of grace
Wider than that
far, far away
My horse ran away
far, far away
My horse galloped
far, far away
Don’t catch up with him
far, far away
Don’t catch him
Beyond that my sadness
Beyond that
Beyond that my longing
Beyond that
High, high
The falcon has flown
High, high
A falcon has flown
High, high
The falcon rose
High above the clouds
The falcon has flown
High
Above (beyond) my joy
Above that
Above (beyond) my love
Above that


Otava Yo and Sergey Starostin – Deep (Zelyonka)

ГЛУБОКО

(слова и музыка Сергея Старостина)
Глубоко, глубоко
В колодези вода
Глубоко, глубоко
Под землею руда
Глубже того мое горе
Глубже того
Глубже того мои скорби
Глубже того
Широко, широко
Разлилась река
Широко, широко
Разбрелись луга
Широко, широко
Разлеглись поля
Шире того свет благодати
Шире того
Далеко, далеко
Убежал мой конь
Далеко, далеко
Ускакал мой конь
Далеко, далеко
Не догнать его
Далеко, далеко
Не поймать его
Дальше того моя печаль
Дальше того
Дальше того моя тоска
Дальше того
Высоко, высоко
Улетел сокол
Высоко, высоко
Залетел сокол
Высоко, высоко
Поднялся сокол
Высоко, за облака
Улетел сокол
Высоко
Выше того моя радость
Выше того
Выше того моя любовь
Выше того


Отава Ё и Сергей Старостин – Глубоко (Зелёнка)

I love this song so much it’s soulful, there is deep melancholy in it. When life is tough, we can find answers or relief in nature. It’s how I interpret it.

Zalivochka, or Завидочка in Russian also called Zavidochka.