Эдуард Анатольевич Хиль (Edward Anatolevich Hill) is gaining fame again for a once-forgotten performance in Soviet Russia over thirty years ago in 1976. Back then it was considered genuine pop TV entertainment, but in today’s culture it has resurfaced as the “trololo” internet meme because of its strangeness more than its catchy tune. Why it is strange to modern viewers isn’t hard to see once you start watching:
I realize many of you don’t speak Russian, so I’ve transcribed the complete lyrics here so you can follow along:
Nah-nah-nah-nah-nuh-nuh, nah nuh–nuh, nah nuh-nuh, nah nuh–nuh, nuh-nah.
Nah-nah-nah-nun, nun-ah-nah, nun-ah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!
Nah-nah-nah-nah-naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Dah dah daaaaaaaaah…
Da-da-daaah, daaah, daa-daah.
Lololololoooooooo! La la-laaaaaah, la la laah, lol, haha.
Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, oh-ho-ho-ho-ho!
Oh-ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, lo-lo-loooo!
Luh luh lah, lah, lah-lah.
Da-da-daaah, daaah, daa-daah.
Lololololo, lololo, lololol, la la la la yaah!
Trolololo la, la-la-la, la-la-la-
Oh hahahaho! Hahaheheho! Hohohoheho! Hahahaheho!
Lolololololololo, lololololololol, lololololololol, lololo LOL! *
Ahhhhh! La-la-laaah! La la-laaah, laaah, la-la.
Oh-ho-ho-ho-hoooooo! La, la-laaaah, lalala, lol, haha.
Lolololo-lololo-lololo, oh-ho-ho-ho hooooooooooooooooooooo!
Note: Transcribing these lyrics took longer than you might think.
Note: You can download Trololo Sing Along with the lyrics from Vimeo for free (see About This Video).
Getting serious now, why does a song like this, with no discernible words (vokaliz style) still work as a music video? Body language! Eduard isn’t using words, but he’s a recognizable performer singing a story about a feeling, Ostrovskii’s “I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home”(Cyrillic: Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой), using his facial expression, posture, and tonality.
It’s a strange sight in contrast to modern Western norms, but considering that human communication is more non-verbal than verbal, a singer lip-syncing to non-words is actually saying a lot.
Edit 3/7/10: Looks like since this writing the meme has picked up enough momentum to generate an English Wikipedia page for Eduard Khil’ (in addition to its Russian counterpart). There’s an interesting quote from Hill, now living in St. Petersburg Russia, who was asked about his new-found internet fame by a Russian news outlet recently. Here’s his reply:
I haven’t heard anything about it. It’s nice, of course! …
Thereby hangs a tale about this song. Lyrics were written for it, but they were poor. I mean, they were good, but one couldn’t publish them at that time. They contained words like these: “I’m riding my stallion, so-and-so mustang, and my beloved Mary is thousand miles away knitting a stocking for me”. Of course, we failed to publish it at that time, and we, Arkady Ostrovsky and I, decided to make it a vocalise. But the essence remained in the title. Yes, it’s a little prankish – it has no lyrics, so we had to make up something for people would listen to it, and so there was an interesting arrangement.
Edit 3/15/10: Eduard has been further pressed by Russian media and he seems to be gladly embracing the new popularity trend. He’s even posted a video address to the world and recently sat down to watch YouTube parodies on live TV.
Addendum 4/14/10: Read more about trololo and the reasoning behind the vocal lyrics in the new thought posted here.