Katyusha (song)

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War song
Published 1938
Genre Folk
Language Russian
Writer Mikhail Isakovsky
Composer Matvei Blanter

"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.

Other versions[edit]

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." Karel Gott recorded a German version titled "Katjuscha." 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[edit]


Russian text:
Translation (vocal):
Translation (poetic):

Расцветали яблони и груши,
Поплыли туманы над рекой.
Выходила на берег Катюша,
На высокий берег на крутой.

Выходила, песню заводила
Про степного, сизого орла,
Про того, которого любила,
Про того, чьи письма берегла.

Ой ты, песня, песенка девичья,
Ты лети за ясным солнцем вслед.
И бойцу на дальнем пограничье
От Катюши передай привет.

Пусть он вспомнит девушку простую,
Пусть услышит, как она поёт,
Пусть он землю бережёт родную,
А любовь Катюша сбережёт.

Rastsvitali yabloni i grushi,
Paplyli tumany nad rekoy.
Vykhodila na bereg Katyusha,
Na vysokii bereg na krutoy.

Vykhodila, pesnyu zavodila
Pra stepnovo, sizogo orla,
Pra togo, katorogo lyubila,
Pra togo, ch'i pis'ma beregla.

Oy ty, pyesnya, pyesenka devich'ya,
Ty leti za yasnym solntsem vsled.
I boytsu na dal'nem pogranich'e
Ot Katyushi peredai privyet.

Pust' on vspomnit devushku prostuyu,
Pust' uslyshit, kak ona payot,
Pust' on zemlu berezhyot rodnuyu,
A lyubov' Katyusha sberezhyot.

Apple and pear trees were blooming.
O'er the river the fog rolled.
Out onto the river bank walked Katyusha,
On the high, steep bank.

As she walked, she began to sing a song
Of a gray steppe eagle,
Of the one whom she loved,
Of the one whose letters she was keeping

O you song! Little song of a young girl,
Fly away and follow the bright sun.
And to the warrior on the distant border,
From Katyusha pass on my hello.

May he remember this plain young girl,
May he hear how she sings,
May he protect our motherland,
And Katyusha will protect their love.

Blooming pears and apples all around her
With the morning mists beneath her feet
Walked Katyusha slowly by the river
On the rocky riverbank so steep.

She was walking, she was softly singing
Of her silver eagle of the steppe
Of the one for whom her heart was beating
Of the one whose letters she was keeping

Oh you tender song sung by a maiden
Spread your wings and fly towards the sun.
Find the soldier in the distant trenches
Bring him from Katyusha greetings fond.

May he then remember his beloved
May he hear her sweet song like a dove
To his last breath may he guard his homeland
Like Katyusha guards their tender love.

Apple trees were blooming white and fuchsia.
O'er the river fog began to creep.
Out along the water walked Katyusha
Down the river's bank so high and steep.

As she walked, she started sweetly singing
Of a gray steppe eagle high above,
Of him to whose letters she was clinging,
Of the one, to whom she'd pledged her love.

Oh you song! You little maiden's chorus,
Fly away beyond the sun and snow.
To the distant soldier serving for us
Tell him that Katyusha says hello.

May he think about her on occasion,
May he hear her heartfelt little song,
May he guard our homeland from invasion,
And their love Katyusha will keep strong.

External links[edit]