The song about a simple Russian girl named Katyusha (a pet derivative name of the popular Russian name Ekaterina) appeared a few years before the beginning of World War II. The author of the lyrics, Russian poet Mikhail Isakovsky had no idea that his work would become so popular that the song “Katyusha” will be performed throughout the Soviet Union, in Europe and in the US. And he couldn’t even imagine then that one of the most devastating weapons of the Red Army during the World War II would be called “Katyusha.”
History of the Russian song “Katyusha”
Poet Michael Isakovsky wrote the first two stanzas of “Katyusha” back in 1938. After getting acquainted with the composer Matvey Blanter, the poet wrote a few more stanzas. Matvey Blanter quickly composed the music for “Katyusha” and the song was immediately included in the concert program of the State Jazz Orchestra of the USSR. The song was first performed by the famous in those years Russian jazz singer Valentina Batishcheva.
Valentina Batishcheva and the State Jazz Orchestra led by Victor Knushevitsky – “Katyusha”
Later, the Russian song “Katyusha” was successfully performed by such popular singers as Ruslanova, Eduard Khil, Anna German, Georgy Vinogradov, as well as numerous orchestras and ensembles from all over the USSR. During the World War II, the song “Katyusha” became so popular that it was included in the so-called frontline folklore, was performed in numerous variations including alterations of the original lyrics.
One of the frontline versions of the song “Katyusha”
Russian system of reactive salvo fire “Katyusha”
Today, it is not known or sure who gave the female name “Katyusha” to the artillery reactive salvo fire system during the World War II. The field rocket artillery system, almost immediately after its first use in the battles of 1941, was called “Katyusha”. According to a legend, soldiers were singing the song “Katyusha” during the shooting, and so the name “Katyusha” got stuck to the Russian artillery rocket launcher – one of the most terrible and unexpected weapons in the World War II.