Saturday, November 12, 2011


NPR had a report on singing babushkas, who did not win the Eurovision preliminaries to represent Russia. You need to know that it is more often groups like this (though these girls are from Ukraine) who win that honor. I didn't even know that Ukrainia had golf courses, actually. Don't feel obligated to watch the whole thing. You'll get the sense of it pretty quickly.
The babushkas - the word means "grandmother" in most Slavic tongues - have had lives about as difficult as one can imagine. Drunken husbands, widowed, poverty, and over all, having lived in peasant communism most of their lives. The story indicates they are from 600 miles east of Moscow, and their language closer to Finnish than to Russian (I can't come close to telling from their conversation whether it's Erzya or Mari). They point out there is no reason for being depressed - you have to go on anyway, so you might has well be upbeat about it.

So you tell me who you'd rather have living in your house. Here they are again.


Kurt said...

And then there's this use of the term (with a different spelling, but the same pronunciation).

Gringo said...

Kurt, that is the first time I have seen "babushka" spelled with an "oo" instead of a "u."

Kurt said...

Well, I would guess that Kate Bush just used it in the song and spelled it that way because she had probably heard the word, but most likely didn't know where it came from or anything about its meaning or history. She was quite young when she wrote and recorded some of her most famous songs; "Babooshka" was released about more than a month before her 22nd birthday (if the dates listed at Wikipedia are correct).