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Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)

(Russian baritone singer and a recipient of the People's Artist Award of the RSFSR)

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Biography Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
photo Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
Eduard Anatolyevich Khil (Russian: Ёдуард јнатольевич ’иль; 4 September 1934 - 4 June 2012) was a Russian baritone singer and a recipient of the People's Artist Award of the RSFSR.

Early life

Eduard Khil was born on 4 September 1934 in Smolensk to Anatoly Vasilievich Khil, a mechanic, and Helena Pavlovna Kalugina, an accountant. Life as a child was hard on Khil, with his family breaking up; he was brought up by his mother. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII Eastern Front), his kindergarten was bombed, he was separated from his mother and evacuated to Bekovo, Penza Oblast where he ended up in a children's home, which lacked basic facilities and needs, such as food. Despite this Khil regularly performed in front of wounded soldiers in the nearby hospital. He was reunited with his mother in 1943 when Smolensk was liberated from Nazi Germany and in 1949 moved to Leningrad, where he enrolled and then graduated from printing college. In 1955, Khil enrolled in the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied under direction of Evgeni Olkhovksky and Zoya Lodyi. He graduated in 1960. During his studies, he began performing various lead operatic roles, including Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro.

Career and success

After graduating he fell in love with pop music after attending a Klavdiya Shulzhenko concert, and started to perform popular music. This led to him winning several prizes in the next two decades. He won the "All Russian Competition for Performers" in 1962 and was invited to perform at the "Festival of Soviet Songs" in 1965. He attained second place in Sopot International Song Festival in 1965. In 1967, composer Andrey Petrov won the USSR State Prize for a collection of songs performed mainly by Khil, and in 1968 Khil won the Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR. The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was awarded in 1971, and Russia's most prestigious artist award, the People's Artist of Russia, was awarded to Khil in 1974. He was so successful that the public called him the 'Symbol of Leningrad'.

Khil performing at the 65th anniversary Victory Day Parade (St. Petersburg) in 2010
Between 1977 & 1979, Khil taught solo singing at the Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy.

Khil has toured in over 80 countries and lived at Tolstoy House (“олстовский дом) in St. Petersburg.

After his singing career faded in the early 1990s, Khil re-entered private life and worked in a cafe in Paris, singing cabaret. Since 1997, Khil has been involved with his son in a joint project with the rock group Prepinaki.

For his 75th birthday, Khil was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th Class in 2009 by Russia and in 2010 performed in St. Petersburg's Victory Day Parade.

Songs and style

He was the first artist to sing such songs as Woodcutters (Ћесорубы in Russian) and Moon Stone (Ћунный камень) by Arkady Ostrovsky, and Song about Friend (ѕесн€ о друге), Blue Cities (√олубые города), And People Go To the Sea (ј люди уход€т в море) by Andrey Petrov. Other popular songs performed by Khil included From What the Homeland Begins? (— чего начинаетс€ –одина?), How the Steamers Are Seen Off ( ак провожают пароходы), Winter («има), Birch Sap (Ѕерезовый сок), Alder Catkin (—ережка ольхова€), We Need Only the Victory (Ќам нужна одна победа), and many others.

Khil's manner of execution of songs is unique and easily recognizable in Russia, characterized by charm, always having a great sounding bright, sonorous voice and the flight of lyrical baritone, with the powerful charge of optimism and humour. On the stage Khil kept very confident, smart, accompanying singing light dance moves and spectacular gestures. By never changing his academic style of singing, Khil enjoyed enviable career longevity.

Family

Frome December 1st, 1958 Eduard Khil is married to ex-ballerina Zoya Pravdina (she left her career after marriage), and the couple have a son, Dmitri (born 2 June 1963). Eduard Khil also has a grandson also named Eduard. Khil met Zoya in July 1958 at the Leningrad Conservatory where he sang, whilst she danced. Afterwards they went on tour together, where their romance began. They got married two months later at 1 December. The family name Khil is not derived from Hill, as it is reported on various web sites. The singer stated in an interview that he probably has a Spanish ancestor with the surname Gil, which is pronounced similar to hill.

Illness and death

In May 2012, Khil suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. He had suffered from irreversible brain damage and was in a coma. He died in hospital in St. Petersburg on June 4, 2012.

Internet meme

In 2009, a 1976 video of Khil singing a non-lexical vocable version of the song I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home (я очень рад, ведь €, наконец, возвращаюсь домой) was uploaded to YouTube and became known as "Trololololololololololo" or "Trololo". The name "Trololo" is an onomatopoeia of the distinctive way Khil vocalizes throughout the song. The quirky and catchy video quickly became an Internet meme and Khil became known as "Mr. Trololo" or "Trololo Man".

Meaning and the original text of the song

The song was written by Arkady Ostrovsky. Besides Khil, it was also performed by Valery Obodzinsky, Hungarian singer János Koós, and by Muslim Magomayev on the Little Blue Light program in the Soviet Union. According to Khil, the Trololo song originally featured lyrics which described a narrative about a cowboy riding a horse to his farm:
I'm riding the prairie on my stallion, a mustang as such, and my sweetheart Mary now knits a stocking for me, a thousand miles away from here.

я скачу по прерии на своем жеребце, мустанге таком-то, а мо€ любима€ ћэри за тыс€чу миль отсюда в€жет дл€ мен€ чулок

Publicity

The Trololo video first appeared on some sites beginning on 21 February 2010, the most prominent of those being the "Trololo" website that rocketed the meme into popular awareness, receiving more than 3,000,000 hits in its first month. It gained prominence on 3 March during a segment on The Colbert Report. It was also parodied by actor Christoph Waltz on Jimmy Kimmel Live! as well as Craig Reucassel on the Australian TV show "The Chaser".

The "Trololo" meme in turn re-ignited interest in Khil's singing career aside from his vocalised performance; for a time, the "Trololo" website included a petition for Khil to come out of retirement to perform on a world tour.

I haven't heard anything about it. It's nice, of course! Thanks for good news! There is a backstory about this song. Originally, we had lyrics written for this song but they were poor. I mean, they were good, but we couldn't publish them at that time. They contained words like these: "I'm riding my stallion on a prairie, 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 vocalisation. But the essence remained in the title. The song is very playful - it has no lyrics, so we had to make up something for people would listen to it, and so this was an interesting arrangement.

Khil's son was quoted as saying "He thinks maybe someone is trying to make a fool of him," and "He keeps asking, 'Where were all these journalists 40 years ago?'"

Awards
- Winner of Second All-Russian competition of performers (1962)
- Sopot International Song Festival second prize (1965)
- Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR (1968)
- Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1971)
- People's Artist of the RSFSR (1974)
- Lenin Komsomol Prize (1976)
- Order of Friendship of Peoples (1981)
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th class (2009)
- Utyosov Prize

Filmography

- 1965 - Cheryomushki („еремушки) - vocal
- 1974 - Eduard Khil (documentary, directed by Marina Goldovskaya)
- 1985 - Golubye goroda (√олубые города, Blue Cities; film-concert, music by Andrey Petrov)
- 2004 - Yatinsotests - club manager
- 2011 - Family Guy - cameo

Photos of Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
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  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
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  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
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  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
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  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
  • Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)

Photos of Eduard Khil (Ёдуард ’иль)
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