The Drina March

The Drina March, or The March on the Drina, is a Serbian patriotic melody which was composed by Stanislav Binicki, a military chaplain. He dedicated the March to Stojanovic, a fearless and well liked Colonel  in the Serbian army  who was killed during the Battle of Cer. This battle was fought at the beginning of World War I, nearby the river Drina. 

The assassination on Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by a Bosnian-Serb nationalist was the immediate cause to the first World War. The murder resulted in an ultimatum to the kingdom Serbia and within a couple of weeks the major powers were at war. The battle of Cer 
began in the night of 15 August 1914 and was part of the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia. The main purpose of the battle was control over several Serbian towns and villages near the Cer Mountain, especially Sabac. 
On August 19th the morale of the Austro-Hungarian troups collapsed and by thousands the soldiers retreated back into Austria-Hungary. The Drina river served as a natural boundary and many of them drowned in it as they fled in panic. On 24th of August the Serbians re-entered Sabac, marking the end of the battle.
The March on the Drina was first performed as a concert piece in Kragujevac, in the building of the present court of justice and it was conducted by Binicki himself. From the very start, during and after WW I, the Drina March became very popular and many Serbs saw it as a symbol of resistance to the Great Powers. It became a symbol of the Serbian unity and one of the most famous Serbian nationalistic songs. It was performed at the front but also in the allied countries. The most impressive performance was on 12 Oktober 1918 in Nis, as the famous Drina Division marched through the liberated city to the sound of the March on the Drina.

Since it's creation, the March on the Drina remained very popular, it was performed in taverns, it was played by great philharmonic orchestras, by all kind of bands, everyone on their own special way. During World War II the Drina March was forbidden in Communist Yugoslavia, but after that war it was played on several public occasions. 
In 1961, it was played at the presentation ceremony for the Nobel Prize in Literature, where the Yugoslav writer Andric was a nominated laureat. In 1991 the march was played by Serbian forces from loudspeakers during the Yugoslav wars (1991-1996) following the battle of Vukovar. The next year, in 1992, it was played after the Serbian capture of the town of Zvornic and the socialist party of Serbia used the melody as the soundtrack for an important promotional spot on Serbian television. Still in 1992 the march was chosen to be the national anthem of Serbia. Later the Serbian National Assembly bypassed the decision, as they thought  the song was too provocative. Instead they adopted the royalist anthem "Boze Pravde".
Fifty years after Binicki composed the Drina March, in 1964, the lyrics to the song were written by poet and journalist M. Popovic, to commemorate the 50th aniversary of the Battle of Cer. English lyrics to the melody were written by the American songwriter Vaughn Horton, also in 1964, for a recording by the singer Patty Page. The song was called Drina (little soldier boy). A decade later German lyrics were written to the melody by Walter Rothenburg and two years later by Bert Olden. In 1989 Serbian lyrics were added by Milutin Popovic Zahar: "Svirajte Mi Mars na Drinu".
English lyrics:

To battle, go forth you heroes,
Go on and don't regret your lives
Let the Cer see the front, let the Cer hear the guns
and the river Drina's glory, courage!
And the heroic hand of the father and sons!

Sing, sing, cold water of Drina,
Remember, and tell of the ones whom fell,
Remember the brave front, full of fire and mighty force
Whom expelled the invaders from our dear river!

Sing, sing, Drina, tell the generations,
How we bravely fought,
The front sang, the battle was fought
Near cold water
Blood was flowing,
Blood was streaming by the Drina for freedom!

Serbian lyrics:

U boj krenite junaci svi!
Kren'te i ne žal'te život svoj!
Cer da čuje tvoj, Cer nek vidi boj,
A reka Drina slavu, hrabrost
I junačku ruku srpskog sina.

Poj, poj, Drino, vodo hladna ti!
Pamti priče kad su padali!
Pamti hrabri stroj koji je pun ognja, silne snage
Proterao tuđina sa reke naše drage.

Poj, poj Drino, pričaj rodu mi
Kako smo se hrabro borili!
Pevao je stroj, vojev'o se boj kraj hladne vode,
Krv je tekla, krv se lila Drinom zbog slobode.

Click the link to hear The Drina March, partly played on accordeon
Click the link to hear The Drina March, only a small part played on accordeon


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