Lyudmila Zykina – The Volga River Flows

Lyudmila Zykina (1929-2009)

Lyudmila Zykina was a great national folk singer of Russia. In 1947 Lyudmila joined the Pyatnitsky Choir (a choir that sang traditional Russian folk songs). In 1960 she started her solo singing career. Lyudmila was a favourite singer of Leonid Brezhnev and Kim Il-Song and Kim Jong-Il. During her long singing career she won many honors including the Lenin Prize, Order of Lenin, the People’s Artist of the U.S.S.R., and the Order of St. Andrew. Her most popular songs included Techot Volga (The Volga Flows) and Orenburgskii platok (Orenburg Shawl). An asteroid is named after her — 4879 Zykina.


Stéphane Grappelli plays piano

Stéphane Grappelli (1908-1997)

Stéphane Grappelli was a French-Italian jazz violinist and jazz pianist. Today he is most well known for his work with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France which he founded together with gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Throughout his long career Grappelli collaborated with several violinists (Ray Nance, Stuff Smith, Svende Asmussen, Jean-Luc Ponty, Svend Asmussen, Yehudi Menuhin, Joe Venuti) and other musicians including Marc Fosset, Joe Pass, and Oscar Peterson. He is best known for his jazz violin playing. Grappelli also played jazz piano at a very high level. Here is a clip of Stéphane Grappelli playing the piano. I hope that you enjoy it.

Amália Rodrigues – Gaivota

Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999)

Amália Rodrigues was the queen of Portugese Fado, which is characterized by passionate and elaborately embellished singing often accompanied by Portugese guitars. The Portugese guitar is a round-bellied twelve-string guitar that is used almost exclusively in Fado.

Here is a 1970 recording of “Gaivota.” I hope that you enjoy this beautiful music. There are a lot of Fado recordings on YouTube by a variety of artists. I hope that you will check them out.