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Till date regional and ethnic (pre-national) traditions are evident in Russian folklore.Thus, folk singing traditions of the northern, western, southern and central regions, as well as settlements in basins of big rivers of Oka, Volga and Don, have their own distinct features.As for the instruments now symbolizing Russian folk music - balalaika and bayan (accordion) - they were spread in Russia only in the 19th - 20th cc, as well as mandolin and guitar, originating in Western Europe, strange as it may seem. The worst of all were the attempts to 'update' folk art and make it serve the state cultural policy.Reviving traditions The first collections of folk songs were published in Russia in the late 18th century. They resulted in the official image of folk art moulded under the pressure of totalitarian state.Rather melodically developed are also certain kinds of weeping, making part of the wedding ritual and burial weepings.They are very expressive as a result of blending ritual formulas with an individual improvisation of the performer (a woman, as a rule).

In spite of all that, folk songs were kept alive - in the outstanding heartfelt performance by Sergey Lemeshev and Lidia Ruslanova, the Queen of Russian folksong.One could only marvel at her unusual artistic intuition - so subtle and profound was her feeling of the essence of the Russian folk song and so skillfully she conveyed all its infinity and fascination.Lidia Ruslanova's BIOGRAPHY New Folk Wave The 1960s saw a keen interest in 'the olden times' upsurging.It included Finno-Ugric, Turkic and other prototypes besides Slavic ones.Very old are guttural singing traditions of Siberia and the Far East.FOLKLORE TODAY Zhanna Bichevskaya, a famous singer renowned for her peculiar 'country folk' style, has always stood apart on the music stage.

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