Monday, April 13, 2015

#A-TO-Z CHALLENGE 2015 – LETTER “K” – EDUARD ANATOLYEVICH KHIL, (Эдуард Анатольевич Хиль) RUSSIAN BARITONE


Here is a big secret about me; I am a total kid. I know; color you shocked. As Ricky Ricardo might say, I got some 'splainin' to do. First off, I am truly a responsible adult. I pay my bills, practice my music, write my challenge posts,take my vitamins, eat all my veggies and all that good shit. After that, I'm pretty much doing what I please, when I please to do it, and not a damned bit of it is productive. For those who don't know, I'm on Disability, came out of a horrible, horrible marriage (yeah, Bill Nunnally, “savior of families” at AmericanHeartlandforChildren.org, helmed by CEO Teri Saunders, cheater on wives, and all-around abusive spouse, I'm talking about YOU, when I was hospitalized with congestive heart failure, even though, despite what YOU think I DID help you through school, cleaned your house, did your laundry and cook; I was so gullible) lost two houses, ended up homeless, in the hospital, and in physical rehabilitation, so I've damn well earned my right to do as I please.


This particular god I'm ranting about acts like the 2nd coming of Ronald Reagan. I threw in with the god who is voiced by Sean Connery, bein' a homie and all that. But seriously, there are more gods and cabals and backstabbings in this game; it's like "Game of Thrones" except we respawn.

One of those is to be a gamer, but I actually only REALLY play one game with any regularity. It's called Runescape and I've mentioned it before. Since I've been playing it for the last eight damn years, with the same people, we have a little family, of sorts, and a Clan, by the name of SpiritZ. It's probably one of the oldest clans in any game going and one of the most influential in RS. We are ranked 1185 out of 22,000 plus and we just celebrated our 10th year anniversary and I've been there for eight of those years. I'm a co-leader with two other people who have also been there for the entire time, so, we're apparently not going any where. The game has expanded, so that the higher levels are constantly challenged. It's definitely not a game for kids and although some of the “clannies” were kids when they started, several are out of college, some have started families and some are in their forties. A few are close to my age. It is truly a wonderful clan, and the people are amazing. It's pretty international, and multi-lingual. We also have something called a “TeamSpeak” wherein, we can all get on a server with headphones and mics and listen to music, or talk, during events that are dangerous and we need to coordinate. We also just get on and chat; about our lives, music, pets, what we're trying to do in the game, etc.


Eduard Khil, during the performance of his song, "I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home", the non-lexible vocable version, in 1975. 

So, what does all of this narrative have to with Eduard Khil? Well, one of my co-leaders decided he would put together a music channel, and took suggestions from other members. Of course, the usual suspects crept in: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “The Hamster Dance”, some weird Indian ragas, and then Jer found “The Troll Song”.


While not the origin of "lame white-guy dancing" this is one HELL of a good example of it! Rick Astley singing, "Never Gonna Give You Up!" Note the non-production values. Everyone in this video looks like they just worked eight hours in an accounting office.

There is some background here. Several years back, everyone was getting “Rick Rolled”. You'd click on a link and it would take you to this video that had some dude, named Rick Astley singing this horrible tune from the '80s. The video has zero production value, just this white guy singing and trying to be cool. That meme finally faded, but it was a way to “troll” people, by having them click on one thing and then having this god-awful video pop up. Jer did it to me, and I said, “If I ever get this mess off my screen, Ima hunt you down and kill you!” To which, he said, “Tee hee” and ran off into the woods of the Great Gnome Stronghold, and when that sucker wants to hide in Runescape there is no finding him.


Eduard Khil, singing the 2:38" version of "The Troll Song". There's actually a 10-hour version of it on youtube, but there's also a 10-hour version of Hitler doing "Gangnam Style". Psy generously allowed any and everyone to do parodies of his hit. I wonder if he's regretting that now?

Anyway, Jer added the “Troll Song” to our little mix of songs that we could all sing along to (badly, over shitty microphones) and I remembered this song with giddy delight. This is my go-to song whenever I want to make people howl, during our TeamSpeak karaoke nights. It actually has "lyrics", and here they are:
AhhhhhhhhhYa ya yaaaahYa ya yaaahYaaah ya yah

OhohohohooooOh ya yaaahYa ya yaaahYaaah ya yah

Ye-ye-ye-ye-yehYe-ye-yehYe-ye-yehOhohohohoh

Ye-ye-ye-ye-yehYe-ye-yehYe-ye-yehOhohohohooooooooooo

Aaaaoooooh aaaoooHooo haha
Nah nah nah nahNuh nuh nuh

Nuh nuh nuhNuh nuh nuhNuh nuh nah!
Nah nah nah nah nun

Nun-ah nunNun-ah nuhNah nah nah nah nah!
Nah nah nah nah Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Dah dah daaaaaaaaaah...Da-da-dah....Daaah..Da-dah...

Lololololoooooooooooooo!
Lah la-laaahLa la laaahlol

haha
Ohohohohoho-ho-hoho-ho-ho

oh-ho-ho-ho-ho
Ohohohohoho-ho-hoho-ho-ho

Lololololooo...
AAIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee-eeeee-EEEEEEEEE!
Luh-luh-lah...

LahLah-lah
Ohohohohooooooooo!BOPadudududu-dah-da-du-daaaah!

Da-da-daaaahDaaahDa-daaah...
Lololololo

lololololololLalalalah!
Trololololo

lalala
Oh-hahaha-hoHaha-hehe-hoHohoho-he-ho

Hahahaha-ho
LolololololoLolololololoLolololololo

Lololo-LOL!
Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!La-la-laaaah!La la laaaah!

LaaaahLa-lah...
Ohohohohoooooooooo!La, la-laaah!

La-la-laaahlolhaha...
Lololololo

LololoLololo
Ohohohoho!
Lololololol

LololoLololo

I was giddy with delight, having heard the song before, long ago and thinking it was just the silliest thing I had ever heard. It's replaced Rick Astley's “Never Gonna Give You Up” as the “Troll Song”, but I dug a little deeper to find out about the remarkable singer of this tune, with it's non-lyrics and slap-in-the-face key changes. Eduard Khil was born in 1934, in Smolensk, the Western Oblast (Area) of Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. He was a recipient of the People's Artist Award of the Russian SFSR, and became known to the west in 2010 when his 1976 recording of him singing a non-lexicle vocable version of “I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home" ("Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой") became an internet meme, known as “Trololol” and instantly was associated with internet trolling.


Mr. Khil receiving his Order of Merit for the Fatherland in 2009

But more than that, Eduard Khil is one HELL of a musician. Life was particularly hard on him as a kid. During what the Russians refer to as the Great Patriotic War, his kindergarten was bombed and he was separated from his mom and evacuated to Bekovo, Penza Oblast, which was several hundred kilometers from his home, which borders Lithuania and Poland. He ended up in a children's home, which lacked the basic necessities, yet, despite that, he regularly performed in front of wounded soldiers from nearby hospital.
In 1955, he enrolled in the Leningrad Conservatory, and graduated in 1960. While there, he began performing in lead operatic roles, including Figaro in “The Marriage of Figaro”.

courtesy:bjoernvold.com

Mr. Khil struck a similar chord with all of his listeners; I found this on an IT website, in his honor. The posters were saddened at his passing; he'd brought them many hours of fun. I can relate. He was a wonderful man by all accounts and a superb musician!

He fell in love with pop music, Soviet style, and began to perform popular music. This led him to winning several prizes in the next two decades. He won the “All Russian Competition for Performers” in 1962 and was invited to perform at the “Festival of Soviet Songs” [editor's note: I'm sure this was a knee-slapper] in 1965. He continued winning and performing in public until he retired from public life. He did teach solo singing at the St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy, as well. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1977.

After retirement, he sang cabaret in a cafe in Paris and worked with his son in 1997 in a joint project with a band called Prepinaki and in 2009, on his 75th birthday he was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th Class by Russian and in 2010 performed in St. Petersburg's Victory Day Parade.

When the non-lexicle vocable version of the song was uploaded to youtube, the quirky and catchy version went viral and Khil became known as “Mr. Trololo”, or “Trololo Man”. The song was written by Arkady Ostrovsky and there are REAL lyrics. According to Khil, it's about a cowboy, riding home to his love.Here's a sample:

I'm riding the prairie on my stallion, so-and-so mustang, and my beloved Mary is thousand miles away knitting a stocking for me."

Mebbe it's better in Russian; that so-and-so mustang:

Я скачу по прерии на своем жеребце, мустанге таком-то, а моя любимая Мэри за тысячу миль отсюда вяжет для меня чулок.”

I think it's 50-50. A lot of Soviet songs of the era are like this. At any rate, it fascinated people. It popped up on the Colbert Report, Christopher Waitz parodied it on Jimmy Kimmel Live (when does Christopher Waitz NOT parody something every time he's on Kimmel?). It made a brief appearance on “Family Guy” and “Big Bang Theory”.


I do enjoy "Family Guy" and this little clip is one of the reasons why! Enjoy!

The thing that gets me, is the music, musicianship, playing and singing are all superb. It's a happy, deliriously giddy song; one cannot listen to it without feeling immediately better. When Eduard Khil died at age 77, he was recognized as one of Russia's great singers and I have to agree. Mr. Khil made this song fun and he brings such enthusiasm to his performance. In spite of his harsh beginnings, he led a full and happy life. That is one thing that is apparent from this song; this is a happy man, singing a happy song. You can't ask for much better than that!
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