Doukhobors - Spirit Wrestlers

About Stenka Razin

Peter Gritchen sings and plays the accordion outside his hillside property. His home (an original communal home, or "dom" in Russian) is filled with Doukhobor memorabilia.

This song belongs to a cluster of Russian ballads that describe the exploits of Stenka Razin, a seventeenth-century Cossack rebel leader. It is part of a longer tale of how Razin threw his paramour overboard to prove to his followers that he had not forgotten them or their ideals.

sample doustena.wav 360KB 33 seconds
entire song doustenb.wav 1,712KB 2:38 minutes
entire song 1,298KB 2:38 minutes


Gather round and hear this song of old
About the brigand, Stenka Razin!

Around the coast, beyond the island
On the Volga's broad expanse,
Brightly painted, multicoloured
Sharply prowed barques sail forth.

On the lead ship, Stenka Razin
With his princess sits enthralled,
Their new wedding celebrating -
He is tipsy, he is merry.

All around the crew is grumbling:
"He forsook us for this maid!
Just one night with her he dallied,
Now his head is in a whirl.

Volga, Volga, Mother dear,
Volga, Russian river great,
You have yet to see a present
From a Cossack of the Don!"