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.


The song depicts a girl, Katyusha, longing for her absent love.

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]

"Katyusha" was first sung in July 1941 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. 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.[1]

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, 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 (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 falangist volunteers of Division Azul used the melody of "Katyusha" for an adaptation called Primavera (spring in Spanish), anti-communist chant enhancing 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 The hymn of EAM ("Ο ύμνος του ΕΑΜ"). This adaptation was recorded much later by Thanos Mikroutsikos and sung by Maria Dimitriadi.[citation needed]

The song was translated into Hebrew and performed by 1945, and has been popular ever since in Israel.[2]


External links[edit]