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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENTRSS

© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Pesnya

A musical journey

by Nicole Deli at 24/05/2012 20:34

A pleasant way to plunge into Russian culture through music is to catch the Blue Trolleybus. Departing on Sundays from near Moscow’s Mayakovskaya metro station, it takes its passengers on a musical excursion around the Garden Ring.

The trolleybus doesn’t stop until it has completed a full circuit and returned to its starting point. The journey takes about an hour, with musicians playing guitars and singing songs about Moscow. A guide supplements the songs with short stories about the trolleybus and the Moscow sights along the way.

Songs of Bulat Okudzhava, Yury Vizbor and other bards create a 1960s vibe

© RIA Novosti. / Vladimir Pesnya

Songs of Bulat Okudzhava, Yury Vizbor and other bards create a 1960s vibe

Songs of Bulat Okudzhava, Yury Vizbor and other well-known Soviet bards create an early 1960s ambience.

“It took us two years to prepare the Blue Trolleybus project,” Tatyana Matalina, a guide and one of the founders of the musical trolleybus, told The Moscow News. “It was not easy to create such a trolleybus that would be reminiscent of the evenings in Russian kitchens of bygone days and to make it fit into the rhythm of Moscow streets,” she said.

Whether it’s hot or freezing cold, and even in Moscow’s notorious traffic jams, the Blue Trolleybus keeps singing its way around the capital. It’s probably the only transportation in Moscow on which people don’t mind being stuck in traffic. While the trolleybus passengers are happy to sit in a traffic jam and enjoy a few extra songs, people in nearby cars also enjoy the entertainment. The music can be heard all over the neighborhood; passers-by wave and smile, and drivers honk their horns.

The Blue Trolleybus has been running around the Garden Ring for eight years. At the beginning of June – over the holiday weekend from the 10th to the 12th – the Blue Trolleybus team is to celebrate its jubilee and perform in a song festival at the Kolomenskoye park estate in Moscow’s southeast.

The trolleybus’ name comes from a song by Okudzhava

© RIA Novosti. / Vladimir Pesnya

The trolleybus’ name comes from a song by Okudzhava

The trolleybus’ name comes from a song by Okudzhava, “The Last Trolleybus,” which has become its anthem: “When I can hardly live through my troubles, when despair comes, I take the blue trolleybus, the last one, at random.”

Happy or sad, the songs recreate the atmosphere of old Moscow, and each one is linked with the view that passengers can see through the window – whether it’s Ulitsa Arbat, Paveletsky Station, Taganskaya Ploshchad, Gorky Park or the longest bridge crossing the Moscow River.

“Driving my car I don’t pay attention to the sights of the city, because I’m concentrating on the road and too preoccupied with my own thoughts,” said Blue Trolleybus passenger Yury Molkov. “The trolleybus reminds me of evenings with my friends singing by a fire,” he said. 

The Blue Trolleybus departs from the Triumfalnaya Ploshchad stop (external side of the Garden Ring, 50 meters from the Pekin hotel), near Mayakovskaya metro station, on Sundays at 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:20 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost 150 rubles. For more details, see www.sin-troll.ru

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