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Song Spotlight


Yablochko (literally “little apple”) is a Russian folk song and dance. 


Yablochko is in a chastushka style, which means “singing short frequent phrases.”  A chastushka is a simple rhyming poem that usually has four lines.  Since the song was simple and repetitive, many locals would make up their own verses.  So, depending on which city or village you were in, the song would be different. 


Yablochko was traditional sung in the Russian navy and became popular during the Russian Civil War (1918-1922).  Each army would have their own verses for the song.  Even though the title means “Little Apple,” the song has nothing to do with apples, and most of the versions of the song are related to political issues of the time.  


“The Red Poppy,” a ballet written in 1926 by Reinhold Glière, included a transcription of Yablochko with a choreographed dance that became known as the “Russian Sailor’s Dance.”  You can see a performance of the dance in the video below.  

You can hear the Yablochko melody starting at 3 min 52 sec.

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