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Pesniary (also spelled Pesnyary, Belarusian: Песняры, [pʲesʲnʲaˈrɨ]) was a popular Soviet Belarusian folk rock VIA. It was founded in 1969 by guitarist Vladimir Mulyavin.[1] Before 1970 the band was known under the name Liavony (Лявоны).[2]

Background information
GenresFolk rock
Folk music
Folk pop
Progressive rock
Psychedelic rock
Years active1969–2003
(currently three different bands claim this name)
Associated actsVerasy


Pesniary combined various types of music, but it mostly used Belarusian folklore though often with various psychedelic rock elements and later rock as well. Several of Pesniary's songs were composed by Aleksandra Pakhmutova. The surprising influence of early Frank Zappa was also notable. The band often used lyrics from the famous Russian and Belarusian poets of the past. Pesniary's favourite was Yanka Kupala. The band adapted his poems into stage musicals twice: Pesnia o Dole (Song of Fate, 1976) and Guslar (1980), the latter also released as a concept album.

Among their best known songs are "Kasiu Jas Kaniushynu", "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", "Belorussiya" and "Alesia".


Pesniary was the best-known Soviet group from the Belorussian SSR. It was one of the very few Soviet bands (and possibly the first one) to tour in America in 1976. They toured the American South with folk band The New Christy Minstrels. 1974-1980 is considered the Golden Age of the band when it achieved top popularity in the USSR, Eastern Europe and in other countries.

In 1979, after the success of the rock opera Guslar, the whole band was awarded the honorary title Merited Artist of the Soviet Union[citation needed], and Mulyavin personally received a higher title of People's artist.

After Mulyavin's death in a car accident on 26 January 2003, the original Pesniary split. Currently, three different bands claim to be the official descendants of the original Pesniary. They are:

  • Belarusian State Ensemble Pesniary - a state-produced band under the Ministry of Culture of Belarus, consisting mostly of young musicians.
  • "Belorusskie Pesniari" - led by former Pesniary saxophonist Uladzislau Misevich
  • "Pesniari" - led by former Pesniary vocalist Leanid Bartkevich

All three tour and perform original Pesniary songs.


1971 Ты мне вясною прыснiлася Ty mnie viasnoju prysnilasia I dreamt of you in spring
1974 Алеся Aliesia Alesya
1977 Перапёлачка Pierapiolachka The Quail
1979 Волoгда Vologda Vologda
1980 Гусляр Husliar Guslar
1982 Зачарованная моя Zacharovannaya maya My Enchanted (live album)
1984 Через всю войну Cherez vsyu voynu Throughout the Whole War

The band also released dozens of singles.


The lineup of the band changed frequently. Among the most notable and long-lived band members were:

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