The Trolololo Video Explained

(YouTube Link)

This bizarre video has been circulating the Internet for about a week or two. It appears to be a Russian man singing a wordless (even in Russian) nonsense song before a live audience. It is definitely an ear worm, so if you listen, be prepared to continue to listen to it for a couple of days.

Anyway, the meaning and origin of this video may finally be at hand. Blogger Justin Smith explains:

The man singing is Edward Hill, also known as Eduard Khil', or, better yet, [Cyrillic redacted -- ed.]. According to his Russian Wikipedia page, Hill was born in Smolensk in 1934, and finished his studies at the Leningrad Conservatory in 1960. By 1974 he had been named a People's Artist of the USSR, and in 1981 he was awarded the Order of the Friendship of Peoples. He is best known for his interpretations of the songs of the Soviet composer, Arkadii Ostrovskii. As for the peculiar name, I could find no information, but imagine that he is descended from the English elite that had established itself in western Russian cities by the 17th century. He is not a defector of the Lee Harvey Oswald generation. He is entirely Russian.

The song he is interpreting, "I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home," is an Ostrovskii composition, and it is meant to be sung in the vokaliz style, that is to say sung, but without words. I have seen a number of comments online, ever since a flurry of interest in Hill began just a few days ago, to the effect that this routine must have been meant as a critique of Soviet censorship, but in fact vokaliz was a well established genre, one that seems close in certain respects to pantomime. via Urlesque

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