Ochi chyornye (Dark Eyes) is a Russian traditional folk song with a strong Gypsy essence. However, the words and music were actually written by a Ukrainian poet Yevhen Hrebinka and a German composer Forian Hermann in 19th century.

Feodor Chaliapin, a reputable Russian Bass, made the song popular abroad in a version amended by himself in the early 20th century.

This song is definitely a signature of Russian folk song, soulful and emotional expression for solo recital, choir, instrumental performance of accordion, violin and trumpet. The Gypsy essence makes it a song of sadness and bitterness but eventually of strengths and energy.

Feodor Chaliapin - Bass


Dmitri Hvorostovsky - Baritone


Russian Red Army Choir


English translation based on Russian lyrics (Chaliapin version)

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
How I love you, How I fear you
Verily, I saw you at a sinister hour

Dark eyes, flaming eyes
They implore me into faraway lands
Where love reigns, where peace reigns
Where there is no suffering, where war is forbidden

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
I love you so, I fear you so
Verily, I saw you at a sinister hour

If I hadn't met you, I wouldn't be suffering so
I would have lived my life smiling
You have ruined me, dark eyes
You have taken my happiness away forever

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
I love you so, I fear you so
Verily, I saw you at a sinister hour

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