The Singing Babushki: Grandmas with Wisdom


The singing sensation of the moment – six mostly elderly and middle aged women from the Ukraine known as The Buranovskie Babushki – have much to teach modern moms. If you haven’t seen them yet, they add substance to the otherwise cheesy Eurovision 2012. 

You will find them performing a charming and endearing (off-key, but in tempo) song called “Party for Everybody,” with the lyrics, “Come on and dance boom boom.” Quintessential groovy bohemians: think Edie Brickell, flashed forward 40 years and wearing bright gypsy apron dresses and matching kerchiefs.

The va-va-voom version of Grandma’s wisdom and grit, they are keepers of an indigenous and timeless flame. Best in show for their class, these women still got game and know how to move. The word “babooshka” (singular of the word “babushki”) originates from the head covering they wear.

The remainder of their costume is made up of a shroud-like, formless dress with a breast and waistline that reaches in a straight line from shoulders to knees. They cut the quintessential post-menopausal figure. Think Emma Goldman or Golda Meir. These women are old-school matriarchs. They’re not your typical screen sirens, but heavy lifters, although they’re surprisingly light when they kick up their heels and celebrate.

Someone recently called me a true bohemian and since then I’ve been thinking about what this means. Trying to take it as a compliment, the first thing that comes to mind is the value of Grandma’s Wisdom. No matter what, you can always do a little better; slow steady wins the race; all hands on deck; many hands light work; in the doing is the becoming. When the girl walks into a barn full of excrement what does she say?  “There must be a pony in here somewhere,” before she gets to work cleaning.

These aren’t just clichés and hackneyed sentiments or contrite throw away statements. Taken seriously, they remind us to focus on one good thing at a time, even when there seems to be little to go on.  When all feels lost, Grandma’s Wisdom clears the blurriness in life. The key in any turning point is to stay focused. Nice work if you can get it?  It’s most certainly easier said than done.  

So yes, come on, get off your electronic devices and take your earphones out. Sing this song with your children and dance to it. Look deep in their eyes as you talk to them. Make part of your daily routine to have a laugh with your children. Read to them every night before a kiss and a hug and they’re off to sleep. If that’s bohemian, I’ll take it, not on the chin but with pride.



Leave a Reply