Aleksandr Matochkin - Russian Folk Songs and Folk Tales Preserved and Retold


We recently imported Aleksandr Matochkin's CD Traditional Woeful Folksongs of Russian Kin. Most of the songs on this album were originally sung without instruments, but here Aleksandr is accompanied by his accordion. Not a common combination but it works perfectly, adding tempo and melody. An intimate performance of almost instantly memorable songs.

The CD artwork comes from photographs taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky in early 20th century Tsarist Russia (pre 1917). They are original colour photographs, not colourised later! The cover photograph is "Girl with strawberries" (1909) (LOC), the back cover is "Peasant girls" (1909) (LOC). The booklet front page is a different "Girl with strawberries" (1909) (LOC).
See the complete Library of Congress (LOC) collection here.

Outside of his own recordings, Aleksandr works to preserve the voices of Russian ancestry directly, continuing in the tradition of field collectors like Alan Lomax by visiting villages and recording the music and stories passed down by generations.

Some of these are available on his youtube page, here are a few examples:

Tatyana Konstantinova and Viktor Ivanov perform a chastushka. These are short humourous / satirical songs with a lyrical structure similar to our limericks (some of that saucy language too).

A spoken tale with translation, by Alexander Matochkin. The Tale of the Soldier:

Korobeiniki, sure to be familiar to many:

Novgorod wedding scene: