My heart belongs to the romance

Autor of text: 

Dimzhan Sharipov, Poet and Composer, Singer and Songwriter of urban romances. During his creative activity he wrote dozens of songs that became the classics of the genre.

the romance in Kazakhstan

Love... This theme permeates the entire work of the poet, composer and author of romances – Dimzhan Sharipov. Love and its versatility – love of a mother, love for a child and, of course, the eternal theme of the romance – love to a Woman! How was developed his creative path, we talk with Dimzhan.

– Dimzhan, why do you have dedicated your creativity to romance?

– For me, the romance is inscrutable, lovely and amazing, fascinating and passionate, charming and inspiring, exciting and relaxing, healing and the fragile peace. World of Love. About the romance you can say very much – it is inexhaustible in its depth and richness.

It is inexhaustible and beautiful as inexhaustible and perfectly an essence from what it is born and blooms, lives and breathes, that nourishes it and turns it into the unquenchable fire, warming and scorching hearts. This is the love itself says and calls out by the wonderful voice of romance. It is love itself, the ineffable and inscrutable to the end, so as to be incomprehensible and infinite the romance itself, the wonderful genre, it's not even the genre, but the language of love.

the romance in Kazakhstan

– Very enthusiastically and abundantly, but you don't always thought like that? Or were you born with a lyre in hands?

– Probably, I was born with a lyre (smiles). My grandmother, Olga V. Radchenko, loved Sergey Yesenin and from an early age I often was reading his poems. Surely, we read poems of A. Pushkin and remarkable poems for children, written by the Soviet poets like S. Marshak, S. Mikhalkov, Agniya Barto. I remembered by heart very much and at the age of 4 years I could recite them aloud, pretending I was reading. We had a large library and when I have learned to put letters in words and understand their meaning, I read everything. In the 9 years I read Walter Scott, Dumas, Jules Verne, James Druon, Fennimore Cooper and many other great novelists.

In high school I loved the lessons of literature on which we wrote essays on themes of some paintings. We were lucky to have a teacher like Valentina P. Fedorova. She was a socialite lady. And communicate to us a taste for high art of poetry.

And later on many of my romances were written under the impression of the pictures of my cousin Paul Dragunov, a famous Kazakhstan artist-portraitist. Its splendid classical portraits inspired me to write romances in «vintage», if I may say so about music, style, where you listen the intonation of the old secular parties.

For me painting is still an important source of inspiration. And I'm happy, that in my family for me there is its inexhaustible source!


– When was created your first poem?

– It's been in 12. It was called «Evening». In it I expressed my impression of what was happening outside the window by the light of a lonely lantern. I showed it to my teacher of literature. She liked it. She was experienced person in the poetry. She continually held poetry readings that spurred us to create. After her blessings, I began writing almost permanently and on any topics. I had experimented with speed, rhythm, metaphor, style.

– And how do you start writing music?

– At first I was composing simple melodies to memorize verses that I learned. Then I went to music school in the class of the accordion, where I has mastered the solfeggio and began seriously writing music to my poems. Later at school, we at the House of Culture created a vocal-instrumental ensemble (VIE), under the leadership of our teacher and friend with who even toured in other years. Our mentor Sergei Ivashkin at that time was already a well-known jazz musician in the Orchestra of V. Drobyshev. His influence I am still affected, jazz style sometimes is felt in my compositions. Although I am not the biggest fan of jazz. 

– You have a romantic soul, brought up on exalted literary images. And how was your creative destiny? 

– In the 90-s the creative life was surprisingly busy. My great-grandfather Issagali Sharipov was the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR and Vice. Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, he lived in Moscow and always reverently took care of his children education, it has become a good tradition in our family. So I also get higher education in Moscow, the city where worked great Russian poets and composers, at the journalism department.

I often visited in St. Petersburg, in the very center of contemporary music. I really enjoyed the creativity of Vyacheslav Butussov and his musical group – «Nautilus Pompilius». We were familiar with him personally.

In those years I wrote a rock opera «Nonconformists», which we introduced in the popular St. Petersburg rock-club «Nevsky Prospekt». 

Димжан Шарипов, романс в Казахстане

– How did the audience perceive it?

– Very good. During the week we gave three performances in sequence. People from Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Almaty, Novosibirsk came to listen to us. During these days we became famous throughout the country. Newspapers and magazines wrote about us. It was a buzz. 

– Do you have desire to revive it?

– Possible. A couple of months, and, of course, lacks the very smallness of ... money must be found to represent it to spectators. At that time, in the opera participated 10 musicians plus 6 vocalists, and we all worked then for the idea. Now we see the lack of idea-driven people. There are other priorities. The market principles are dominating. And then we were still volunteering Komsomols. It was a difficult time, and we by our creativity wanted to express our attitude. 

– In 90-s you turned to a rock musician? 

– Instead of civil lyrics I still prefer personal emotional experiences of person. Sometime in the newspaper «Arguments and Facts» one critic compared my music to Emo-kor. Emo-KOR is the direction of romantic rock in Western culture of the 90’s, which was drawn to the individual human feelings, to his emotions and feelings. So from rock ballads I gradually turned to romance. Because the Romans did not remain indifferent to anyone: neither recipient nor the creators of romance, who feel his invisible call and go at it, conveying his grateful students all the charm and beauty of the music of a human soul. 

– Your most popular romances? Where and by whom they were performed?

– My most popular song «I'm yours», it is loved to be performed by women, although it was originally called «You're mine» and was performed by a man. I had to redone it. Alim Karimovich Baigarin, our great sound engineer, told me: «You're so deeply felt the feminine soul”. Listeners love «Lullaby», which I dedicated to my daughter. 


Romances were, of course, by me on a variety of different scenes and concerts, and my own performance I like best. Although the romance «I'm yours» superbly executed by the Chamber Presidential Orchestra, conducted by Abzal Mukhitdinov, with soloists Eskander Abzhanov and Ayman Udanova, in several theatrical manner. It was very beautiful.

I dream to work with Alexander Malinin. For me he is the best performer of classical romance. His school itself more accurately conveys the true spirit of romance.


– Do you believe that in our rapid period of change in the hearts of people will place a romantic feelings and songs? 

– Romance has survived the ages and has not expired, it will be with us in the future and will kindle and nourish hearts of future generations. Yes and it could not be otherwise, because he is penetrated by love, it is consisted from love and it is its intangible substance and, like love itself, may not be aged. 

«First love»

The romance has no age and national boundaries and limits, it can not be called a youth culture or the culture of the older generations. And numerous lovers of romance are those who finds its responsiveness, own shelter and in whom it bears harvest – harvest of love and tenderness.

Our reference

In the 12th century in Europe there was a courtly medieval French literature, it was not written on Church Latin, but on local spoken languages (Italian, Spanish, French, and Provencal). All of these languages belong to the Roman group and are a common name-lingua romana, so these works were called romance (novels). From this came the word «Romance», which in the 15th century in Spain were called love poems for singing. Later to the romance listed the Venetian barcarolle, Neapolitan songs, French ballads, and other genres, including the meistersing, performed in German (not Roman) language.

In Russia the Romans entered at the end of the 17th century. Prince Vasily Galitzin, known for his commitment to the West, performed sensitive French songs to the accompaniment of the testude. Under Peter I to Russia together with many foreigners entered European music, which is affecting the Russian song, on its turn recieved very much. Later at the Russian court worked the Western opera troupes, led by the major European composers, at Elizabeth – F. Araya, at Catherine II– J. Paisiello and Cimarosa, at Paul I and Alexander I– A. Cavos. By the way, the first Symphony «processing» of the Kamarinskaya was not a known play of M. Glinka, as many think, but the Overture to the Opera «Women's tricks» («Le Astuzzi feminili») by D. Cimarosa.

During the 18th century to Russia were included extensive western and southern lands, which led to a mass influx into the country of Gypsies. Since then, the Russian song and romance go hand in hand with gypsy tradition.

A radical change in the culture of Russia took place in 1850 's-1870 's, in the era of reforms of Alexander II. Farmers massively have migrated to cities, as a result creating a unique urban democratic culture, inside of it created a genre known as cruel or urban-folk by nature – romance. At this, was happened the separation of romance to salon-academic (works of P. Tchaikovsky, S. Rachmaninoff and others) and the urban romance. At the same time has developed the urban romance: a simplified form of the harmonic and melodic structure, completely subordinated to the poetical text. The verse is a narrative elegy or ballad, often with an end-to-end «metaphor and spectacular, dramatic finale (hence: «heart-rending romance»).

In the revolutionary era the romance was «taken away» in emigration. Great singers in this genre: P. Leschenko, A. Vertinsky, Y. Morfessi, I. Kremer, A. Boyanova – appeared in Paris, Istanbul (Constantinople), Harbin, Bucharest. Among the romance performers I should mention Hollywood actor Yul Brynner (former Russian Harbin resident).

In recent years there has been a surge of interest to the Russian urban romance, there are interesting records on disks, radio and television. Most of this presentations are in the «pop manner.» At the same time, there is a splendid tradition of urban and cruel romances by opera singers.

Arkady Gutgarts (Jerusalem)

Photo from the archive of Dimzhan Sharipov

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