Eta Horacho!

Otava Yo!

I get the feeling these folks would fit right in with the Appalachian music crowd, or the Irish, or…

The next one with Pipes at about 4:10… must be those Celtic Russians ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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11 Responses to Eta Horacho!

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, am I liking these folks. They have a sense of fun about them ;-)

  2. andysaurus says:

    I’m pretty sure the second one, as well as the pipes, features a hurdy-gurdy at about 2:30. I think the whistle in the last clip is provided by a calliope, but it may be a penny whistle. It’s hard to get the clipped attack and decay with a penny whistle. I could be entirely wrong, this is just what it sounds like to me. Real folk music IMHO, so I totally concur with your Appalachian comment.

  3. beththeserf says:

    Oh that’s fun, EM, down to the motor bike standin in for the Cossack pony.
    Blue grass, Hey…

  4. EM I liked the first video. Must say I did not realise any Russians had a sense of humour. There is hope. In my small experience with a stop over at Moscow airport there was little humour. Firstly, the plane came from Koepanhavn., everyone got off most like me ( at least 100) headed to the souvenir shop. As we got there the door was slammed shut with the assistant saying it was lunchtime. Then some of us (mixed nationality -Swedes, Danes, Germans etc went to an area where there was tables and a bar. After, some persuasion we convinced a waitress (who had no smile) we wanted beers. She came along whipped the tops of the bottles and demanded a number of roubles. We had US$, Germans Marks, Swedish Kroner etc but no roubles. She grabbed the bottles and pointed to an area behind the bar where foreigners could be dealt with by men in uniform. After showing of passports and signing some forms and paying I think $10 we were given a voucher to collect a bottle of beer and directed to a table out of sight of ordinary Russians. Cartoons depict Russian lady? guards in uniform with a small square head hard on a rectangular body with boots at the bottom. That was the parade as we were escorted back to the plane. I said to the Swedish flight attendant near the plane that it was good to see lady with a bit of a smile. She said they are supposed to look serious.

  5. andysaurus says:

    According to Google Translate, the name of the group is Bulgarian. Here’s another one, this time with an incredible feat of dancing with a log! – Sorry, I have no idea how to embed the video. I only learned a smattering of HTML several years ago. – All gone.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like they have a web site, natch:

    Has a .ru high level qualifier, so that’s Russian

    Otava Yo (Russian: Отава Ё, ота́ва meaning “aftergrass”) is a Russian folk rock band from Saint Petersburg, formed in 2003.

    The band has performed in 30 countries,[3] including Mexico, France, Estonia, China, Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Norway, India, the United States, the UK, Italy, Denmark, Iran and Japan.

    So looks like they’ve been around a lot and I’m just discovering it…

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    Several Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet or similar variations of it. If you have a short fragment instead of a longer sentence or three, google can be a bit random on what language it assigns it as.

    Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Russian are more like dialects or like Old English vs Modern than fully isolated languages. IF you have practiced Old English, it’s an easy read; if not, well, it seems like a foreign language. Some put it at about 75%-85% mutual intelligibility, but then it varies with the words and there are some false cognates (like “turn right” and “go straight” that sure sounded the same but…) but as you reach Bulgarian, it’s a bit trickier as there’s old vs. new issues; or “core words” vs “neologisms” that may diverge:

    For Bulgarian and Macedonian, it is a similar story, but maybe a bit easier. Russian borrowed many words directly from Old Church Slavonic, and Old Church Slavonic evolved into Bulgarian and Macedonian, so there are many similar words and lexical differences are what hampers intelligibility the most.

    So to the extent you are using older Russian words, they are the same (or very similar to) Old Church Slavonic that is the same base as Bulgarian…. but make it a paragraph and those “lexical differences” start to bite.

    And yes, I went down the Slavic Languages rabbit hole a couple of times… It’s a fascinating language family in several ways. Highly conservative of structures (as are most inflected languages) with slow rates of change, yet a written history starting very recently (about 900 AD IIRC). To some extent looking to Greek as the form from which to raise new words (much like we use Latin) and as the inspiration for the Cyrillic alphabet. Russia sees itself as being (to some extent) the inheritor of the Eastern Roman Empire (speaking Greek, remember…) when it fell to the Arab Invasions.

    The Slavic language family was in large part a sprachbund until just the last few hundred years. Folks in any given area might have been in the Polish-Lithuanian empire using Polish at one point, or Czech, or Serbian and in the Russian Empire another. So there was a lot of “cross pollination” even in modern times. In fact, what distinguishes one of the languages from another is often how much Polish vs Russian vs other was the source for particular sets of words. Some of the minor Slavic languages being different only in a given set of words as the two regions were under 2 different empires when those words came into use. Especially in the South Slavic language areas.

    Particularly fascinating is that Bulgarian in some ways started the march to modernity in the Slavic languages and so influenced the development of the others:

    Moreover, Bulgarians showed their Slavishness before all other Slavs when as early as 9th c. were the first to create Slavic literature and spread enlightment in all Slavic countries. The modern Bulgarian language, in spite of some non-Slavic traits, is still pure Slavic language because if one looks closer into these non-Slavic traits, he will see that they arise from a common Slavic basis. Thus, modern Bulgarian is rooted in that common Proto-Slavic language which is thought of as the source of all Slavic languages.

    That Old Church Slavonic…

    So I don’t fault the google translate for getting it wrong. Then the fact is that between the formal language areas, things just grade in:

    To help imagine better the relationship and similarity of Slavic languages let us accept that these circles overlap, so between each two circles there is a common area where a transitional dialect is spoken. Indeed, between Russian and Polish there is Belarussian which has also traits of Polish language; between Polish and Czech there is Lužica-Sorbian dialect; between Czech and Slovenian there is Slovak dialect; between Slovenian and Serbian there is the Kajkavian Croat; and between Serbian and Bulgarian there are the Kosovo-Morava (transitional) dialects which have traits from both languages.
    The gradual transition between Bulgarian and Russian is somewhat interrupted by the fact that there is at present no such transitional dialect as between other Slavic languages — except Ukrainian which has more common traits with Bulgarian than with Russian. Still, the gradual transition is lacking probably because there were for a long time foreign peoples between Russians and Bulgarians which prevented the formation of a transitional dialect. Jagić [1] supposes that a transitional dialect existed also between old Bulgarian ancestors (Panonian Slavs) and Russians through the present Hungary and Romania. This suggestion is based on the many Bulgarian toponyms in Siebenbürgen. Oblak went further and supposed that the Bulgarian north-western dialects which have ч-дж instead of щ-жд are a continuation of the Carpathian Ukrainian dialect. Jagić was a staunch supporter of the gradual transition between Slavic languages and did not accept any divisions between them because there is no abrupt border between neighboring Slavic languages and their traits intermingle.

    I know, I know… far more than anyone wanted to know about Slavic languages and the problem of trying to pigeonhole any one dialect into one Formal Language. In some ways a bit like Texan… (Quick quiz: What’s the English word for: Taco, Rodeo, Guitar, Salsa, Burrito, Chili, Lasso,… )

    But it is what it is. A fascinating very recent fracturing of Old Slavonic into different modern formally defined languages, but with the transition areas not yet stamped out by formal education programs… Like Catalan and Provencial also. One pressured by Castilian education, the other by French mandates.

  8. andysaurus says:

    Wow E.M, is that what they mean by turning the other cheek? :) I subsequently discovered, following my own undocumented research techniques, that they are a group who originated in St. Petersburg, so solidly Russian. I don’t know if there is a regional difference in Western Russia, like there is in the West of England. Comparing the accents from London and Penzance, you would think they were quite different countries.
    I am not much of a linguist unfortunately. My father spoke German and Hungarian as first languages, classical Latin and Greek and a smattering of French, Italian and Spanish. When he got to England in the mid thirties he taught himself English by reading a dictionary. Well enough that he became a proof-reader! I find the evolution of language fascinating. I recommend the book I read many years ago: The Loom of Language: A Guide To Foreign Languages For The Home Student by Frederick Bodmer. It was edited by Lancelot Hogben who wrote a lot of books aimed at adolescents (which is what I was when I read it) with alliterative titles, such as: Man Must Measure. Highly recommended.
    There you go, we can all spin off at a tangent.
    Looking up Lezginka was worthwhile (One of the Otava Yo tunes). Never too old to learn.

  9. cdquarles says:

    This is one the niceties of this blog. I get into philology more, which is how language changes sound. About English for burrito, etc; those *are* English. English adopts these things whole when necessary, when a word, phrase, or idiom comes from a foreign tongue and there is no parsimonious way to get the idea across, otherwise.

  10. H.R. says:

    @cd re adopting words: Good point. Other languages do it too, particularly with technical terms.

    I know the French were up in arms over so many American words entering their language, though that has been put on the back burner to the Yellow Vest distraction.

    I worked for a Japanese-owned manufacturing firm and I found out soon enough that some of our long established English technical terms have no Japanese equivalent. For the first 6 years I was there, we had Japanese fellow as our ‘Technical Manager’. He spent some of his time explaining some of those terms that had no equivalent to the engineers at the parent company in Japan. Sometimes, it took quite a bit to get the concept across and to be sure it was thoroughly understood. What I don’t know is if they adopted the words whole or made up or adopted an existing Japanese term for the English version.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    The linguistics term is “loan words” and yes, every language does it (which was why I pointed at the Spanish in English partly via Texas…)

    In Japanese the term for a dress shirt (of any color) is whiteshirtu and a beef steak is beefuteku (with beeru kudasai!) while any large housing like appartment block is a mansion. (Pardon any transliteration error, its been a couple of decades since I used any Japanese…)

    A very interesting example is Romani (spoken by Gypsies). By looking at various words and their origin, it was possible to map their travel across Europe from an origin in northern India. Also what jobs or industry they were employed in in each country. Then a look at the history of that region showed an army (that included family in caravans) was dispatched at about the origin time to go north and west and not return until victorious…. so now they have a history.

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