Learn Russian by Listening to Music

When you study with Lingvist, your vocabulary will grow very fast. Having a large vocabulary is a good position to be in as a language learner: it means that every listening and speaking experience is likely to help you improve.

Even if you’re concerned that your listening skills are not good enough for great conversations with native Russian speakers, there are many fun and low-intensity ways to better them. Immersing yourself in Russian music is an excellent example.

Listen to a broad range of Russian music – perhaps you could consider what you already like and find Russian equivalents. Namely, if you listen to a lot of rock, check out some Russian rock bands.

When you’ve found a few songs you like musically, try learning the lyrics. Practice singing them – even if you don’t have a strong singing voice – and focus on pronunciation.

So, what Russian music is popular today? Let’s find out together! We can’t possibly go through the entirety of Russian music here, but the songs and music artists mentioned in this article will keep you busy for quite some time.

Famous Russian songs that went viral around the world

What songs in Russian managed to go viral and take over the world?

The Russian songs – some weird, some hands-down hilarious – that took the world by storm in the past years include Eduard Khil’s vocals for “Trololo,” Skriptonite’s “Polozhenie,” Little Big’s “Skibidi Challenge,” and a now crazy popular TikTok Russian rap song.

Maybe Verka Serducka’s hearty “Dancing Lasha Tumbai,” which represented Russia at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, also deserves a mention.

That’s right, we’ve attached the YouTube links so you can check out the songs straight away – some conveniently with lyrics on screen. Enjoy!

Hit songs and famous Russian singers

Next, we’ll have a look at the Russian songs and singers that spent a long time at the top of the charts in Russia or broke streaming records worldwide. The Russian music industry has come a long way since the end of the Soviet era.

There’s one Russian pop song that’s been sung all over the globe, and that’s the legendary “All the Things She Said” by t.A.T.u, the famous teenage band that scandalized the charts back in 2002.

But what other crazy popular Russian singers and their hit songs can help you learn faster?

Why not start by listening to Zemfira, a cool contemporary music artist. Her song “Do You Want To?” is extremely catchy and easy to understand at the same time.

Dima Bilan is also a great option. Bilan is widely known for his performances at the Eurovision Song Contest, and “Believe” is one of the best songs he has ever performed.

Another Eurovision star, Sergey Lazarev, represented Russia in the 2016 competition in Stockholm with the song “You Are the Only One” – what a hit!

Indie and Alternative Russian Music

If you’re more into indie and alternative music, here are a few tips for you.

The Russian alternative and independent scene is very interesting and diverse. What bands and artists to look for?

Dolphin (Russian Дельфин), who began his career in 1996, is a famous Russian artist in experimental hip-hop, alternative rock, and electronic genres.

Psyche aka Психея (pronounced “Psee-hey-ah”) was also formed back in 1996 and is an alternative metal/nu metal band.

7th race, or 7раса, comes from Moscow and has been one of the most famous bands of Russian alternative music since 1997.

Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without Mujuice, who entered the music scene in 2004.

Traditional Music and Russian Folk Songs

Traditional Russian music dates back to the time of the old Rus’ and is as expansive as the country itself. Russian folk songs definitely need a mention, and here are the ones you absolutely need to hear.

The #1 Russian folk song is “Kalinka,” known not only in the Russian world, but also elsewhere. The music was written by Russian composer Ivan Larionov in 1830, and it’s now most frequently used by skaters and gymnasts.

Another worldwide favorite is “Katyusha” (“Катюша”). Yes, it’s still popular in Russia, and literally everyone knows it by heart.

Other famous Russian folk songs include “Oh, Frost, Frost” (“Ох, мороз, мороз”) and “There Was a Birch in the Field” (“Во поле береза стояла”).

Finally, we also recommend listening to “Techyot reka Volga” (“Течет река Волга”), sung by the phenomenal Lyudmila Zykina.

Can’t understand the words just yet?

If you can’t read the Russian alphabet yet, that’s an important step. Once you understand how the characters map to sounds, you can try to follow the lyrics on screen while you listen to Russian music.

You might memorize the translated lyrics first, so that you can gradually relate the meaning when you read the original Russian lyrics.

Practice your Russian vocabulary with Lingvist at least four times a week, and this will quickly get easier. Use the app anytime, anywhere: while commuting, waiting in line, or even taking your lunch break. If Lingvist can’t take your Russian to the next level in no time, nothing will!

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