Russian Boys' Activities: Music --Bands

Figure 1.--This photograph is undated. We would guess that it was taken in the early 1930s. We can't read a name of ship on boy's sailor cap. The man to the right wears service cap with a badge of the Soviet Ministry of Railways. We are not sure what kind of band this was. It could be a factory or work unit band or perhps a village band..

We do not have much information on the types of bands in Russia. Many European countries had village bands. We do not know if this was also common in Russia. As far as we can tell, school bands were not very common. There may have been orchestral groups, especially in the schools for gifted children. We are unsure about the Young Pioneers. During the Soviet era we believe that there may have been factory or workplace bands. Children of the workers may have participated. Hopefully some of our Russian readers will know more.

Pioneer Bands

We know that school Pioneer groups had music units featuring drums and buggles. They were used for ceremonies. There may have been more elaborate bands formed at summer camps.

Rock Bands

Rock music began in America during the mid-1950s. Black artists and Elvis Presly were early Rock and Rolls figures. This was more or less the same time that that the 20th Century Congress launched the de-stalinization process. Under Stalin or like-minded nomenclatura, rock music woud probably have been banded. Rock from the beginning had a rebelious element that was unsuitable for the Soviet Union. As part of the de-Stlinization pricess, however, there was a cultural thaw tht permitted a watered-down version of rock-sand-roll. At the time the state recrding company, Melodiya, dominated Russian music. Any one who wanted his music publihed or recorded had to be accepted by Melodiya. All other musicians had to operate in the Soviet music underground. They wre commonly called bards. The could write music and perform to small groups, but there was no way to being their music to the Soviet public. Some of the first bards composing and performing rock music were Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava. They created a style that became known as "author's song" (avtorskaya pesnya). They played acoustical guitars without any accompaniment. There lyrics like Western rock music at times bordered on the subversive. The KGB was not pleased with his development and attempted to supress this development, although their methods no longer meant death or long sentences in the Gulag. And their efforts were complicated by the popularity of their music. Vysotsky even managed to become a popular film actor and achieved enormous popularity. In addition to the Russian underground music, some Western rock managed to penetrate the Iron Curtain. Some records were smuggled. And Melodya even released some Western rock--of course without paying royalties. The artists favored by Melodya were most importantly Beatles, but also the Rolling Stones and Deep Purple. The pieces were carefully selected. The first Soviet "rock" bands appeared in Moscow during the early- and mid-60s. The influence of the Beatles was notable because Melodya has so favored their music. There were many restrictions on these bands. They had trouble finding established venues such as concrt halls and Melodya refused to record them. And there were restrictions on the lyrics. Despite all these restrictions, Russian bands grew in popularity.

School Band

As far as we can tell, school bands were not very common. There may have been orchestral groups, especially in the schools for gifted children.

Village Bands

Village bands were very popular throughout Europe. I am not sure how common they were in Russia.

Work Unit Bands

Bands may be formed at work units, meaning factories, state farms, government agencis and other work places. This may have been for personal satisfation but could perform at special events, picnics, weddungs, ect.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Russian music page]
[Return to the Main country band page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Girls] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Russian pages:
[Ballet] [Children's literature] [Choirs] [Fashion magazines] [Movies] [Royalty] [School uniform] [Youth groups]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to theMain country page]
[Australia] [Canada] [England] [France] [Germany] [Ireland] [Italy] [Mexico] [New Zealand] [Poland] [Scotland] [United States]

Created: 10:15 PM 5/21/2006
Last updated: 1:20 AM 1/8/2009