Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What do you mean he's not singing? Just look!

Эдуард Анатольевич Хиль (Edward Anatolevich Hill) is gaining fame again for a once-forgotten performance in Soviet Russia over thirty years ago in 1976. Back then it was considered genuine pop TV entertainment, but in today's culture it has resurfaced as the "trololo" internet meme because of its strangeness more than its catchy tune. Why it is strange to modern viewers isn't hard to see once you start watching:




I realize many of you don't speak Russian, so I've transcribed the complete lyrics here so you can follow along:

Ahhhhh ya ya yaaaah, ya ya yaaah, yaaah, ya yah.
Ohohohoooo! Oh ya yaaah, ya ya yaaah, yaaah, ya yah.
Ye-ye-ye-ye-yeh ye-ye-yeh ye-ye-yeh, oh hohohoh.
*
Ye-ye-ye-ye-yeh ye-ye-yeh ye-ye-yeh, oh hohohooooooooooo!
-aaaaoooooh, aaaooo hooo haha


Nah-nah-nah-nah-nuh-nuh, nah nuh-nuh, nah nuh-nuh, nah nuh-nuh, nuh-nah.
Nah-nah-nah-nun, nun-ah-nah, nun-ah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!
Nah-nah-nah-nah-naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Dah dah daaaaaaaaah...
Da-da-daaah, daaah, daa-daah.

Lololololoooooooo! La la-laaaaaah, la la laah, lol, haha.
Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, oh-ho-ho-ho-ho!
Oh-ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, lo-lo-loooo!

AAIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-eee-eee-EEEE!
*
Luh luh lah, lah, lah-lah.
Oh-ho-ho-ho-hoooooo!-BOPahdududuh-dah-dadudaaah!
Da-da-daaah, daaah, daa-daah.

Lololololo, lololo, lololol, la la la la yaah!
Trolololo la, la-la-la, la-la-la-
Oh hahahaho! Hahaheheho! Hohohoheho! Hahahaheho!
Lolololololololo, lololololololol, lololololololol, lololo LOL!
*

Ahhhhh! La-la-laaah! La la-laaah, laaah, la-la.
Oh-ho-ho-ho-hoooooo! La, la-laaaah, lalala, lol, haha.
Lolololo-lololo-lololo, oh-ho-ho-ho-ho!
Lolololo-lololo-lololo, oh-ho-ho-ho hooooooooooooooooooooo!
(Wave goodbye)
Note: Transcribing these lyrics took longer than you might think.
Note: You can download Trololo Sing Along with the lyrics from
Vimeo for free (see About This Video).
-------

Getting serious now, why does a song like this, with no discernible words (vokaliz style) still work as a music video? Body language! Eduard isn't using words, but he's a recognizable performer singing a story about a feeling, Ostrovskii's "I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home"(Cyrillic: Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой), using his facial expression, posture, and tonality.

It's a strange sight in contrast to modern Western norms, but considering that human communication is more non-verbal than verbal, a singer lip-syncing to non-words is actually saying a lot.

Edit 3/7/10: Looks like since this writing the meme has picked up enough momentum to generate an English Wikipedia page for Eduard Khil' (in addition to its Russian counterpart). There's an interesting quote from Hill, now living in St. Petersburg Russia, who was asked about his new-found internet fame by a Russian news outlet recently. Here's his reply:

I haven't heard anything about it. It's nice, of course! ...
Thereby hangs a tale about this song. Lyrics were written for it, but they were poor. I mean, they were good, but one couldn't publish them at that time. They contained words like these: "I'm riding my stallion, so-and-so mustang, and my beloved Mary is thousand miles away knitting a stocking for me". Of course, we failed to publish it at that time, and we, Arkady Ostrovsky and I, decided to make it a vocalise. But the essence remained in the title. Yes, it's a little prankish – it has no lyrics, so we had to make up something for people would listen to it, and so there was an interesting arrangement.
Eduard Khil, Life News (Russian)

Edit 3/15/10: Eduard has been further pressed by Russian media and he seems to be gladly embracing the new popularity trend. He's even posted a video address to the world and recently sat down to watch YouTube parodies on live TV.

Addendum 4/14/10: Read more about trololo and the reasoning behind the vocal lyrics in the new thought posted here.

37 comments:

  1. Your transcribing skills are quite impressive. I realize now that I had misheard many of the lyrics.

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  2. Thanks for posting this, and thanks imemary for your comment. Made my day.

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  3. OMG this man has been haunting me :D

    can't stop thinkin abt it.. listenin to it or even dreamin abt it

    it's my ring tone...

    and ur sing along version ROCKS :D

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  4. It's actually "I'm very happy, since I, finally, am returning home" it's being incorrectly translated all over the internets.

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  5. Good comment! I suspect part of the reason "I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home" is commonly used over the exact Russian transliteration, with all the comma punctuation, is because that phrasing is more difficult to parse in English. Punctuation means you have to think more by breaking the phrase into chunks, so people translating the title often opt to remove commas and simplify when transliterating it for English speakers.

    The important aspect is that the gist of the feeling remain obvious in the title, and I think various transliterations can achieve that. Thanks for your reply!

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  6. Thanks a ton for making the Russian Rick Astley tolerable. I could actually sing along with that song now!

    This blog must be placed on my "To watch" list.

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  7. This guy scares the hell out of me. That face is terrifying, and the vocals don't match his movements. He's like a goddamn puppet. ._.

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  8. I...can't...stop...LISTENING!

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  9. The vocalizing is funny, but the musical arrangement in the background is really good! Why do not peaople arrange music like that any more? Maybe that's the reasen for the new popularuty? (Excuse my english)

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you about the music. Russians take their music very seriously, and the quality of this accompaniment is a good example.

      Delete
  10. originally that was song about Cowboy, who back to home, but soviet propaganda stop words... that what we have... (Maxim Lebedev from Moscow)

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  11. I've always thought he actually sings. not even close to lip-syncing.
    I don't understand why people are making fun of this vid. I like it through and through. It's pretty catchy, to be honest.

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  12. I saw this on facebook at ten to nine tonight. It's now 3.12 am and still looping. There should really be therapy and support groups available to be honest.

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  13. This is really catchy.

    It's like the Commies' answer to HEINO!

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  14. Thanks for transcribing the lyrics! I realize that was not an easy task. I actually started doing it myself, but then found your blog, so I didn't have to. Lol, thanks.

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  15. So this was Russia's answer to The Beatles? No wonder the Soviet Union fell apart...

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  16. Love this. Especially enjoyed the lyrics. Terrific arrangement.

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  17. As for its increasing popularity: I think it got a Colbert Bump, thanks to a helpful viewer who posted a link to this site on the Colbert site:
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/265481/march-03-2010/jim-bunning-ends-filibuster

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  18. I too thought the vid was hilarious when I saw it, but then realized the guy was a master of body language (as you said) and had a killer baritone. So I checked out some of his many, many other videos posted on Youtube.

    And I gotta say: I'm now a serious new fan of this old Soviet star. He was extraordinarily talented, and rather charismatic as a vocalist and was a sophisticated stage performer - and really, not a bad looking dude, especially during the 1960's. Give him another look, people.

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  19. Does anyone have any idea how to get the sheet music?

    Thanks for transcribing the lyrics!

    I saw the video for the first time yesterday and haven't been able to get it out of my head. Really it just makes me happy!

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  20. thanks for writing about this wonderful man. he is really great. I'm just wondrin if it's true that he has been lobotomized in the 1950's???

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  21. Im so glad I can sing along now. Thank you. And it has become my Favourite Song of all times and thus replaced Manamana. I love it

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  22. He performed it again THIS YEAR with an orchestra! See the video:

    http://youtu.be/PL8CD8PjVmA

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  23. bow down to your troll leader :D...the master of trolling...our master ....i am forever yours ..your young padawan..my jedi master

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  24. :O the original troll!!

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  25. I'm gonna miss this. But I'm not crying because it's over, I'm smiling because it happened. Thank You, Eduard Khil. Troll in Peace.

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  26. R.I.P. you wonderful man, you brought so many a smile that never faded. We called him the Trololo Guy with respect, everyone loved him and envied his joy.

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  27. R.I.P from Russia.You made me smaile!
    Guys, you cannot imagine how many wonderful, outstanding singers are forgotten there are in Russia

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  28. I HACKED HIS YOUTUBE ACCOUNT, AND I WILL NEVER GET IT BACK, IN 5 YEARS I WILL CLOSE THE YOUTUBE FOREVER, ALL VIDEOS AND CHANNELS WILL BE DELETED, I WILL GO TO JAIL AND YOUTUBE WILL BE OPENED AGAIN WITHOUT CHANNELS OR VIDEOS OR ANYTHING!

    btw i like the troll song.

    ReplyDelete

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