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"Katyusha," also transliterated "Katusha" or "Katjusha," (Russian: Катю́ша) is a Russian wartime song composed in 1938 by Matvei Blanter with lyrics from Mikhail Isakovsky. Written during World War II, the song depicts a girl longing for her beau, who is a soldier serving on the border far away. It was first sung by female students from a Russian industrial school in Moscow to bid farewell to Russian soldiers going on the battle front against Nazi Germany in July 1941. The song quickly became popular throughout the USSR. Its first official performance was by Valentina Batishcheva in the Column Hall of Moscow's House of the Unions. Later it was performed by Lidiya Ruslanova and other singers.
Katyusha is a diminutive form of the female name Ekaterina (Katherine). The song is the source of the nickname of the BM-8, BM-13, and BM-31 "Katyusha" rocket launchers that were used by the Red Army in World War II.
In 1943, Italy, until then a member of the Axis, joined the Allies. During the next two years, Italian partisans fought against German forces in Italy and Italian Fascists. Felice Cascione wrote Italian lyrics for "Katyusha." His adaptation, "Fischia il vento" ("The wind blows"), became one of the most famous partisan anthems, along with "Bella ciao" and "La Brigata Garibaldi".
During the Greek Civil War (1946–1949) Greek partisans who had also fought against the German invasion in 1941, wrote their version of "Katyusha" named "The hymn of EAM" ("Ο ύμνος του ΕΑΜ"). This adaptation was recorded much later by Thanos Mikroutsikos and sung by Maria Dimitriadi.
Ivan Rebroff recorded his own version in 1968 in Russian language. Rika Zarai sang a French adaptation of "Katyusha," under the name Casatschok. Nat King Cole recorded a song with the same melody called "Katusha." In 1969 the melody of Katyusha was used as base for the song Casatchok (a free transliteration of the Cyrillic Казачок), sung by Dori Ghezzi.
A more recent remake, by Los Angeles pop artist Vera Clay, was performed in a eurodance style. "Katyusha" is part of the repertoire of the Alexandrov Ensemble. In 2010, Russian countertenor Vitas covered a version of this song.
In popular culture
- The song was featured as the background theme music for the USSR level of the NES video game Super Dodgeball. A slightly more upbeat-dance version was featured in the game The Next Tetris.
- The Soviet figure skaters Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov performed their exhibition dance using this song at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Olga Kapranova used a remixed version of "Katyusha," composed by DJ Rasputin, for her ribbon routine at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
- The song also appears in the films The Deer Hunter and Downfall.
- Featured in episode 8 of Girls und Panzer
Расцветали яблони и груши,
Выходила, песню заводила
Ой ты, песня, песенка девичья,
Пусть он вспомнит девушку простую,
Rastsvitali yabloni i grushi,
Vykhodila, pesnyu zavodila
Oy ty, pyesnya, pyesenka devich'ya,
Pust' on vspomnit devushku prostuyu,
Apple and pear trees were blooming.
As she walked, she began to sing a song
O you song! Little song of a young girl,
May he remember this plain young girl,
Blooming pears and apples all around her
She was walking, she was softly singing
Oh you tender song sung by a maiden
May he then remember his beloved
Apple trees were blooming white and fuchsia.
As she walked, she started sweetly singing
Oh you song! You little maiden's chorus,
May he think about her on occasion,
- Катюша / Katyusha — Lyrics and MP3 song, at the Marxists Internet Archive
- Article about the song(Russian)