Atlantic Waves 12jan10: Russia

Leshukonsky wedding ceremony is one of the local variants of the Russian Northern wedding with widely developed sphere of wedding lamentations. Group lamentation of the bride is of special interest. It is sung by three girls, one of whom is the bride, leading the singing. But all the texts are performed from the first person, for the bride. This is the survival of the very archaic mythological consciousness and behavior, which are hardly preserved in Russian traditional culture. In Valentina Alimova’s performance lamentation fills with unusual expression and force of artistic and emotional influence.

Musical dramaturgy of the Leshukonsky wedding is based on the comparison of several stylistic lines: ritual forms (lamentations and tunes-formulas and non-ritual), lyrical and dance songs. Lamentations exist in the form of group lamentations, individual lamentations of mother and the bride and recitative lamentations of the bride. Non-ritual songs are included in the ceremony very organically. The dance song “The Street”, to which young fellows whirl girls and against the background of which one can hear sorrowful lamentation of the bride, impresses the listener especially.

In ritual dramaturgy one more genre is important, but now rarely met. It is invocations and dialogues which are led by the bridegroom’s friend or match-maker and in this tradition by the “guard”.

Unfortunately the recording was inevitably abridged. But even in this variant the Leshukonsky wedding is an outstanding phenomenon of Russian traditional culture.