In 1938, as troubles started in Europe, which would cause WW II, composer Matvey Blanter and his friend poet Mikhail Isakovsky wrote the score and lyrics for the song Katyusha. It tells the story of a peasant girl, Katyusha, who longs for her boyfriend, who is serving at the army far away. The song evokes three central themes that are very important for the Russians: the loyal girl, the heroic soldier and the motherland.
In July 1941, as the German armies had already killed or captured thousands of Russians, female students from an industrial school in Moscow sang the song to the soldiers marching past them to the front. From that moment the song became popular throughout Russia and Poland, it became a call to fight off the nazis.
At the same time, in July 1941, mobile rocket launchers were used for the first time. The letter K on their side, from the Voronezh Komintern Factory where they were built, led to the adoption of the name Katyusha. The scream of the rockets, as they left the launcher was called Stalin's Organ.
Still during war, in 1943, as Italy joined the Allies, Felice Cascione wrote Italian lyrics for "Katyusha". His adaption "Fischia il vento" (The wind blows) became one of the most famous partisan anthems.
During the Greek civil war, Greek partisans who had also fought against the German invasion in 1941, wrote their own version of Katyusha. They called it "The hymn of EAM".
In 1968 the song was recorded in Russian, the French adaption came under the name "Casatshock". Katyusha was sung in America by Nat King Cole and it was also sung in Germany. Till now it has been covered several times. The melody has been used as background music for video games and it has been used in movies. Nowadays and throughout the world Katyusha still is a wellknown and highly appreciated song.
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.
The spring blooms with apple trees and pears,
In the morning riverine fogs hang.
From above afar Katusha stares,
Standing on the high steep riverbank.
To the riverbank she comes for singing,
Of the steppe eagle she well sings,
Of the man, whose letters she`s been keeping,
Of the man, of whom she fondly thinks.
You, the girlish song, fly like a pigeon!
In the high sky keep your way sunwards.
Say the soldier in a border region
That Katusha sends him her regards.
Let him recollect the simple girl then,
Let him hear what she does sing of.
He protects the motherland, like all men,
And Katusha will preserve the love.
Translation by Alexander