What is chanson? Characteristics and history of origin
Modern musical art is represented by a large variety of styles, each of which has its own listener. The first place on the stage of the post-Soviet countries is pop music and chanson, broadcast on almost all radio stations and sounding from the windows of minibuses and taxis. This genre, causing the most controversial feelings, divides the people into those who are for and against chanson, there is practically no one indifferent to it.
What is chanson?
Chanson is one of the most popular musical styles in Russia today. It contains many different directions: from thieves 'thieves' songs to the works of Mikhail Shufutinsky, Alexander Rosenbaum, Alexander Marshal, etc. Today you can listen to chanson for free, in all its manifestations, on various websites.
Translated from Fr. the word "chanson" means "song", "street romance." This genre originated in the Middle Ages and had several directions:
- Peasant Choir Song.
It is believed that the chanson itself arose as a peasant folk choral art, when the people of the countryside composed songs about their share and performed them together in the evenings. Later, due to urbanization, together with the inhabitants of the village was resettled in the city and their original musical culture. Songs of this kind, most often choosing creations of a comic character, began to be actively performed in cabarets that were common at that time. Chansonetki often performed in them - singers who performed mostly funny, simple, comic songs.
- Couplets of robbers.
Another branch of the style is the songs of the robbers about their distance, strength, successfully completed affairs, love affairs, etc. Creativity of this kind was spread in Russia - the people composed songs about Yemelyan Pugachev, Grigory Otrepyev, etc.
- City romance.
Songs about the life of ordinary Parisians with their difficulties and joys, love lyrics. Later, urban romance turned into professional art with beautiful, complex and sophisticated music and lyrics. Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, Patricia Kaas, Zaz, and other professional musicians are among the most famous chanson sings, mostly performing author songs.
Chanson in the CIS
In the XIX century.for the first time the phrase "Russian romance" arose, which at that time caused a huge amount of controversy, but still firmly established with time. In the 90s. XX century there is the concept of "Russian chanson", also causing many contradictions.
Everyone knows what chanson is in Russia. He is very diverse, which explains a huge number of fans of the genre. Especially popular in the 80s. XX century. During the collapse of the USSR. During this period, the so-called “blatnyak” was distributed - prison songs of prisoners, in which they tell about their hard share, life in prison with its cruel laws, dreams of free life, injustice of the “servants of the law”, and those who are waiting for them at home. According to the style of the texts, you can notice some similarities with blues songs.
For several decades, the genre was officially banned, it could not be heard on television and radio, but on the streets, recorded on cassettes, it sounded just everywhere. In 1991, posters appeared in Moscow for the first time inviting everyone to a concert of chanson music at the Variety Theater. For the Russians of that time, this was a real shock, because no one could have imagined that this style would someday become resolved on large scenes.
More than ten performers took part in the concert, the most famous among which was A. Novikov, who was released the day before, who, in fact, served for the semantic content of his songs.
Characteristics of prison chanson
The music of "thieves" songs is simple and straightforward, unlike their French namesake. Began to emerge in the 30s. The word "pull" is translated as "bribe", "rustling bills."
The composition of the bands is mostly standard: vocals, bass, keys (synthesizer), drums, maybe even a rhythm guitar.
The form of music is song-verse, a harmonic basis is composed of 3-4 chords, melodies are simple and easy to remember, simple rhythmic patterns.
All this makes songs of this kind of chanson easily reproducible - anyone who is at least a little familiar with any instrument can sing and play them.
Russia is the world record holder in the number of prisoners (for every 100,000 people more than 700 devoid of will), the convicts themselves, and those who come into contact with them, are fans of "thieves" songs, which explains the popularity of this style.
There is also the so-called military, or Afghan, chanson - songs about the war in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Dagestan, whose fans are the veterans of the above-mentioned wars and their close ones.
In parallel with the "thieves" songs developed and the so-called bardic art. It can also be attributed to the urban romance genre, however, in contrast to the previous style, bardic music is complex and sophisticated, the texts are literary, have higher semantic content, and the performers are more professional.
The most famous bards of XX century. Vysotsky, Okudzhava, Rosenbaum, Mityaev, Loza and others are considered.
Vladimir Vysotsky is perhaps the most popular bard of the USSR era, which is loved and respected in almost every family. In his songs, Vysotsky reflects almost all life situations: from comic songs, directly or indirectly related to political events, thieves, lyrical, to songs about the war. The most popular songs were: "Friend", "My, Gypsy", "Parus", "Save Our Souls", "Man Overboard" and many others. They are characterized by a high intellectual and semantic load of texts.
Chanson in a restaurant
Both old songs and the freshest chanson are constantly heard in the restaurants of the countries of the former Soviet Union. The original restaurant chanson includes Mikhail Shufutinsky, Grigory Leps, Lyubov Uspenskaya, Willy Tokarev, Stas Mikhailov and others.
Their work no longer describes the heavy prison share, as in “blatnyak,” but it cannot be attributed to cultural and intellectual creativity, such as the songs of Vysotsky or Rosenbaum.
What is chanson restaurants? This is a kind of synthesis of "thieves" songs, bardic art and pop music. Famous musician A. Dneprov in an interview on Chanson radio described the genre as "free style".
The reason for its popularity lies in the simplicity of music and texts describing various life situations that are familiar to many, romantic relationships, stories of unrequited love, relationships with relatives and friends - in general, revealing the whole range of everyday joys and troubles.
Synthesis of chanson and pop music
In the past few decades, the merger of these two styles has become very common. This can be seen in the works of Stas Mikhailov, E. Vaengi, O. Gazmanov, I. Allegrova, Pugacheva ("Second-hand girl", "Madame Broshkina", etc.)
This phenomenon is explained by the similarity and popularity of these styles.
What is the chanson of our time? These are mostly songs that can be called love lyrics.
Famous chanson performers
The very first known performers of Russian chanson include such performers as Leonid Utesov, the ensembles Pearl Brothers, the Quartet of Siberian Vagrants, Alexander Severny, Tatiana Stroganov, the group Magadans, Alexander Novikov, Katya Ogonek, etc.
The main place in the "fresh" chanson takes creativity Stas Mikhailov, Grigory Leps and Trofim.
Also, a special role in the genre of urban romance is played by female lyrics, one of the most prominent representatives of which is Lyubov Uspenskaya. She is also called the "Queen of Chanson" in Russia. All Uspenskaya hits were written in the period of the 90s, such songs as “To the only tender”, “Cabriolet”, “Boat” and others belong to them. But, despite the age of these songs, they still remain very popular to this day, and even children know the name of the singer.
Irina Allegrova, Irina Krug, Elena Vaenga and others are also very popular.
At present, one can notice a tendency of constant growth of the cultural and professional level of chanson songs. "Rogue" songs with their obscene vocabulary and prison themes have long gone out of fashion and remain popular only among a small circle of the population, while the lyrics are becoming more and more popular.Radio "Chanson" sounds almost everywhere, and concert halls are full of fans.