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Bulat Okudzhava Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR [now Russia]
Died in Paris, France  (heart problems)
Birth NameBulat Shalvovich Okudzhava

Mini Bio (1)

Bulat Shalvovich Okudzhava (Okudjava) was born on May 9, 1924, in Moscow, Soviet Union. His father, named Shalva Okudjava, was a ranking member of the Communist Party in Tbilisi, Georgia; he came to Moscow for a career, but was arrested and executed in 1937, during the "Great Terror" under dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. His mother was imprisoned in the Gulag-camp for 18 years. Young Okudzhava was raised by his grandmother in Tbilisi. He volunteered for the Red Army during the Second World War and served in the front-lines as infantry; he was severely wounded and decommissioned in 1944. In 1950 he graduated from the Philological department of the Tbilisi State University. Okudzhava was not allowed to return to live in Moscow until after the death of Joseph Stalin. From 1950-1956 he worked as a school teacher in the village of Shamorodino, and then in the town of Kaluga, Russia. There he published his first collection of poetry in 1956.

Okudzhava returned to Moscow in 1956, and gradually developed a reputation as an independent poet, a free thinker. In 1959 he published hie second collection 'Ostrova' (Islands 1959). Initially Okudzhava was not as widely recognized as his contemporaries Evgeniy Evtushenko, Bella Akhmadulina, Andrei Voznesensky, Robert Rozhdestvensky, Vasiliy Aksyonov, and others, who will be later called the 60's generation. Okudzhava picked up guitar and earned popularity as a singer-songwriter during the cultural "Thaw" which was initiated by Nikita Khrushchev. He wrote fine lyrics for the popular film 'Beloe solntse pustyni' (The White Sun of the Desert 1970). His solo recordings gained wide recognition among the Soviet intellectuals, but he could not be published officially in the Soviet Union until the late 1970's. Meanwhile, his literary works were praised by the Russian-speaking diaspora around the world. Vladimir Nabokov cited Okudzhava's poetry, and his original publications in the West preceded those in the Soviet Union. Only in the 1980's his recordings were officially released, as well, as his prose and poetry began to be published in USSR. In 1991, Okudzhava was awarded the State Prize of the USSR. In 1994, he won the Russian Booker Prize for his autobiographical novel 'The Snow is Over'.

Bulat Okudzhava created a new intonation in Moscow urban folklore: cathartic, wistful, and illuminating. Some of his songs were a witty political satire on the Soviet regime. His tape-recorded performances were widely spread all-over the former Soviet Union during the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's, when audiences were receptive to his empathic, nostalgic songs. Although, he did not possess a strong voice, Okudzhava was loved for his cozy and sincere manner of singing, or vocalizing his mellifluent verses. His tape-recorded performances were appealing to mainly intellectual audiences and were admired by millions of Russian-speaking listeners in the former Soviet Union and around the world. Many of his lyrics were as widely loved as the songs of Vladimir Vysotskiy. Among Okudzhava's most popular songs are 'Polnochny Trolleibus' (A Midnight Trolley 1960), 'Molitva' (A Prayor 1963), 'Nam nuzhna odna pobeda' (We Need One Victory 1969), and others. His song 'Gospozha Udacha' (Lady Luck 1968) from the film The White Sun of the Desert, became a popular hit in performance by actor Pavel Luspekayev.

Bulat Okudzhava died on June 12, 1997, in Paris, France, and was laid to rest in the Vagankovo Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (2)

Galina Smolyaninova (? - ?) ( 2 children)
Olga Artsimovich (? - 12 June 1997) ( his death) ( 1 child)

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