Katyusha (song)

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War song
Language Russian
Published 1938
Genre Folk
Songwriter(s) Mikhail Isakovsky
Composer(s) Matvei Blanter

"Katyusha", also transliterated "Katusha", "Katiusha" or "Katjusha" (Russian: Катю́ша - diminutive form of Ekaterina—Katherine), is a 1938 Russian song (melody: Matvei Blanter; lyrics: Mikhail Isakovsky). It gained fame during World War II as an inspiration to defend one's land from the enemy. In Russia, the song is still popular.


Standing on a steep riverbank, she sends her song to her lover, a soldier serving far away. The theme of the song is that the soldier will protect the Motherland and its people while his grateful girl will remain true to him.

Performance history[edit]

As the Great Patriotic War began in July 1941, the song was sung by female students from a Soviet industrial school in Moscow, bidding farewell to soldiers going to the battle front against Nazi Germany. It 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, at the State Jazz Orchestra concert in autumn 1938 (according to the official Russian site, dedicated to the song) [1] . Later it was performed by Lidiya Ruslanova, Georgi Vinogradov, Eduard Khil, Anna German, Ivan Rebroff, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Iosif Kobzon, countertenor Vitas, a duet by Marina Devyatova and Katya Ryabova, Elena Vaenga, and other singers. "Katyusha" is part of the repertoire of the Alexandrov Ensemble.[2]

The song is the probable 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 other languages[edit]

In 1943, the Kingdom of Italy, until then one of the Axis powers, joined the Allies. During the next two years, Italian partisans fought against German forces in Italy and Italian Fascists. Felice Cascione (it) 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 last battles on the Eastern Front, the Blue Division used the melody of "Katyusha" for an adaptation called Primavera (Spring), an anti-communist chant extolling the value of Spanish fighters.

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 Ο ύμνος του ΕΑΜ (The Hymn of EAM). This adaptation was recorded much later by Thanos Mikroutsikos and sung by Maria Dimitriadi.[3] The song was translated into Hebrew and performed by 1945, and has been popular ever since in Israel.[4] Katyusha is also a popular song sung in the People's Republic of China due to influence from the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century.

In popular culture[edit]

In the Girls und Panzer anime series as well as in its sequel Girls und Panzer der Film, the song is performed by members of a warfare competition team of a fictional Soviet school, Pravda Girls High School (プラウダ高校), led by a girl, also named Katyusha. [1][2]


External links[edit]