Yuri Vizbor was born in Moscow where he lived for most of his life. He worked as a teacher, a soldier, a sailor, a radio and press correspondent, a ski instructor, and an actor in many famous Russian films and plays. He participated in and documented expeditions to remote areas of the Soviet Union. His compositions included songs, poetic prose, plays, screenplays and short stories.
Vizbor is often compared with his contemporaries Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava. The topics of Vizbor’s songs were observational, focusing on his love of nature and of travel. By using his extremely varied professions as a template, Vizbor attempted to document various aspects of “normal life” at the height of Brezhnev’s period of stagnation. His trademark was a relaxed singing style that often sounded on the verge of laughter. Vizbor would record songs with a traditional Russian seven string guitar that was often slightly out of tune.
While most Russian Bards relied on a rhythmic strumming pattern as the basis for their musical accompaniment, Vizbor was fond of a slow plucking style epitomized by songs such as “Fanskie Gory”. His most well known tune was a romantic ballad called “Solnishko Lesnoe” or “Little sun in the Forest”. On a more somber note, “Seryoga Sanin” told the story of a free spirited friend who dies tragically.
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