The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Kalinka” by the Red Army Choir

“Kalinka” is one of Russia’s most renowned folk songs. Written in 1860 by Ivan Larionov, it still makes appearances in media all over the world. In 1928, the Alexandrov Ensemble, also known as the Red Army Choir, incorporated “Kalinka” into its chorus routine. From there, the song became even more popular.The ensemble’s founder, Alexander Vasilyovich Alexandrov, was the man who wrote the State Anthem of the Soviet Union, further cementing “Kalinka” as one of country’s most prolific tunes. Despite its ties to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, “Kalinka” found its way to the 1988 version of Tetris, where it would become one of the game’s main theme songs.

“Kalinka”’s happy and rambunctious tune corresponds with its rejoiceful lyrics. Its repeating line, “v sadu yagoda malinka, malinka moya” very loosely translates to “in the garden, there is a berry, a berry of mine”.

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