Dark Eyes


This is the first song I ever learned on guitar though I first learned it to be played entirely in the first position with open string notes included. I was ten years old then and have been working on a “definitive” solo version ever since. Though more commonly played in D minor my version is in E minor because that is the way I learned it many years ago and it is tattooed on my brain that way.

For quite a few years I ended the night with this song whether it was solo, trio, or quartet. It got to the point where it was more or less expected by that small group of listeners who pay attention to such detail.

My first guitar teacher called the song “Russian Nights”. It took years for me to learn the real title. I think he got the idea that it was called “Russian Nights” because the song originated in Russia (and Ukraine) in the early 1800’s. The original title is “oci ciornie” which literally means “black eyes” or “dark eyes.”

Be kind. Stay safe.