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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 just before World War II, the song depicts a girl longing for her fighting military husband. 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 from 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.
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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".
At some point during World War 2, an unknown Russian soldier composed a frontline parody version of the song with lyrics about the Katyusha rocket launcher rather than the girl; it was fairly popular among Russian soldiers at the time, and was commercially recorded in 1948 by Daniel Demyanov and Simon Schadilov.
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.
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. Rob Hubbard's music for the video game Rasputin is a fantasia on similar songs, and begins with Katyusha.
- 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.
- The song appears in episode 8 of the 2012 anime, Girls und Panzer, during the battle against Pravda. Due to licensing issues, the scene it was used in was removed from the simulcast by Crunchyroll and will be altered in the North American BD/DVD release by Sentai Filmworks.
- The steampunk band Abney Park performed a version of the song on their album "The Circus at the End of the World."
- Катюша / Katyusha — Lyrics and MP3 song, at the Marxists Internet Archive
- Article about the song(Russian)