Professional Russian to English Song Translations

SOVIET RETRO/RUSSIAN FOLK SONGS (1940s-1990s)

 

Folk Song- I Don't Know Why (И Кто Его Знает) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSgPf3cUdkg 

At the sunrise, a man wanders

Right outside of my home

He blinks with his eye

And doesn't say another word


And I don't know why he blinks with his eye

He blinks with his eye

He blinks with his eye

 

At parties, he sings and dances

When it's time to say goodbye,

He walks me back to my gate

And then turns with a small sigh

 

And I don't know why. Well, why would he sigh?

Well, why would he sigh?

Well, why would he sigh?

 

I asked him, "Are you all right?"

He said, no, that from the start

He seemed to have discarded,

He has lost his heart

 

And I don't know why his heart went awry.

His heart went awry.

His heart went awry.

 

And yesterday in the mail I

Got two puzzling letters

Said to guess what the dots meant;

He used code instead of words

 

And I don't know why he wants me to try

He wants me to try

He wants me to try

 

No, I didn't decode the letters

He shouldn't have hoped for that

But my heart, all of the sudden,

Sweetly melted in my chest

 

And I don't know why it felt so nice

It felt so nice

It felt so nice 

 

Leonid Utesov- So many beautiful women (Как Много Девушек Хороших)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWI_bdCBs0Y

 

So many beautiful women

So many gentle names are heard

But only one of them torments, taking away sleep and calm

When you're in love

Love unexpectedly arrives

When you expect it least to ring

And every evening, every moment

Will become so amazing,

And you will sing:

CHORUS (2x):

My heart!

In you, tame moments never exist

My heart!

Fantastic to live in this world

My heart!

How wonderful that you are like this

Thank you, my dear heart!

For being able to love

 

Lyudmila Zikina- Young Sailor (Молодой Моряк)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXg5h_lzG_A

 

Why is it that, in our village, all the girls are in chaos?

What's caused them to wake up early?

What has caused them such a fuss?

 

Riding through the village is a young sailor

His chest is in medals

Ribbons in anchors.

 

By the river in the morning

The girls crowding row by row

"Hello", they say in a chorus

"From the Black Sea, our hero!"

 

He shakes each one's hand, looks them in the eye

And one is laughing,

Why can't she kiss, why?

 

Day by day he is relaxing in his parents' home

The girls sighing in a chorus,

"We do not deserve his love."

 

No matter the outfits or the fashions.

He didn't fall in love

With a single girl.

 

Walks and jokes with everybody,

He confides to each girl here,

"Every time I see the sea

There's a murmur in my ears."

 

"Where there's sun and blizzards, lands without a shore,

Waiting there for me

Is my gentle girl"

 

Alexander Gradsky- How Young We Used to Be (Как Молоды Мы Были) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQLuANXglXE 

 

Turn around, unidentified stranger!

I'm familiar with your kindling eyes

Are you me, only younger?

For ourselves, we don't always recognize.

 

CHORUS:

And nothing in life passes by without sign

And our escaped youth is forever alive

How young we used to be,

How young we used to be.

How earnestly we believed

In love and in ourselves.

 

We were met back then without mocking

By all of the world's corners and streets

We forgave all our friends for their errors

But we could not forgive their deceit

 

CHORUS

 

As we played our first match through and through

There is one thing we've managed to grasp:

So that others don't dare to lose you,

You must try not to lose yourself.

 

CHORUS


In the sky, the last traces of lightning,

And the thunder has silenced in our hearts

Don't forget all the faces you've cherished

Or the eyes with which you cannot part.

 

CHORUS

 

 

 Mark Bernes- Roshin's Ode (Романс Рощина) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg2TlTu2vJE 

If I'd met you earlier in time,

Young one. Gentle one.

In those years that long ago passed by,

There'd be more I'd have done.

 

Now my head has turned white.

Immune to my plight.

Why is it that I met you, love, only now?

 

In my circle of acquaintances

I've lost track of the years gone

But then you came and reminded me,

Youthful one. Slender one.

 

Of just one thing I think,

Regretting that spring.

That had passed so irreversibly without you.

 

Dear, oh how these white wisps cower

When brought near your silk strands' light

Know that you seem even younger

When I am by your side.

 

So we won't pass our dates.

We have different fates.

You have become my last love. My pain.

 

 

Mark Bernes- Dark Night (Темная Ночь)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vRYwaJC5FY

 

It's a dark night.

Only bullets whistling in the steppe

Only the wind pounding in the wires

Dimly, stars start to shimmer.

On this dark night

You, my loved one, I know, do not sleep

At the bedside of our little child

You wipe a silent tear.

Oh how I love the depth of your gentle eyes!

Oh how I want to cling to them now with my lips

You and me love, separated by this dark night

And a troubling, ghastly black steppe

Lies forever between us.

But I believe

In you, in my love and my friend.

It's this faith that on this dark night

Keeps me safe from the bullets

I am happy. I am calm in this battle of death

I know you'll welcome me back with love

No matter what happens.

No fear of death; She is always present in the steppe

Circling my head, with her power, she screams. She beckons.

You wait for me. At our child's bedside you do not sleep

And because of this I know, with me, nothing tragic will happen.


 

Alla Pugacheva- Just Three Happy Days (Три Счастливых Дня)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B7_81Dth6A

 

Just three happy days were all that I had

Were all that I had with you.

Didn't expect them, I never called them,

They were what fate planned to do.

Thousands passed you by, but you recognized

My face and my voice among the crowd.

You were dear to me, I started to believe,

But destiny would not allow.

CHORUS 1:

How to overcome this tremendous pain?

Separation is a tiny death.

Separation's a long tread to the harbor,

Maybe there will come a day and I'll see you again?

 

CHORUS 2:

Where you are, there's no me!

Where I am, there is

No place right next to me, my love, my dearest,

Where you are, there's no me!

That is it. Farewell!

 

Soon, a rapid plane will take me away

To the ones whom I have grown to love

Circles of the past, and my loyal friend,

They'll all welcome me back home.

But, three happy days are three fires ablaze

Three big fires ablaze on the shore

I will salvage them, clutch them to my chest,

Keep them forever in my soul.

 

CHORUS 1 and 2

 

Just three happy days were all that I had

Were all that I had with you.

 

 

Alla Pugacheva- Iceberg (Айсберг)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWnhm5tZYrA

 

Like an icy cliff, an iceberg; it emerges from the fog

And the current navigates it across the sea, across its course

One is wise, who realizes just how dangerous an iceberg

Just how dangerous an iceberg is to wayfaring sailors.

 

CHORUS:

But I, when I'm with you, forget about the world

And into love, a crater, I throw myself headfirst

And you, you are so cold; an iceberg in the ocean

And all, all of your sorrows are under black waters.

And all, all of your sorrows are under black waters.

 

Are you sorrow? Are you joy? Are you frozen? Are you melting?

Say, are you the gentle sun, or the white snow lying dead?

I am trying to decipher, tell me, please, who are you really?

Tell me, please, who are you really? You an iceberg or a man?

 

CHORUS

 

Either stray right off my road or become my destiny

Just extend open arms towards me, just give me the right to hope

That my love, my love is able to melt all your frozen seas

That my love can melt this iceberg, melt this heart barren of love.

 

CHORUS  

 

Maya Kristalinskaya- I will wait for you (Я тебя подожду)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRB8IjFU0WI

 

You were looking at me. Searched for me everywhere

Used to be, that I ran, hid your gazes from everyone else.

But now, you've disappeared. I don't know why or where.

I want you to be here, to look at me like you did back then.

 

CHORUS:

Out the window, there's rain and snow, and it's time to sleep,

But I can't fall asleep!

The same yards, the same laugh, but still I miss you a little bit.

 

So, I walk without you, down familiar alleys.

So I walk, not with you, with Natashka to go see a film.

And to you, send hello, all these silent windows,

And also, the old men, who still play dominoes in the street.

 

CHORUS

 

In the courtyard, they still listen to the same records.

You told me, you would come, you would come for an evening with me.

But an evening's nothing, small like a grain of sand.

Take your time, I will wait, if you come and stay eternally.

 

CHORUS (2x)

 

Folk Song- There are So Many Golden Lights... (Огней так много золотых...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CPtolIacHw

 

There are so many golden lights on the Saratov alleys

So many single men walk by. But I love one who's married.

So many single men walk by. But I love one who's married.

 

He found a family too soon. The story makes me sad.

To him, how to admit my love, if I can't to myself?

To him, how to admit my love, if I can't to myself?

 

I want to run, I want to flee whenever he is near.

What if the things that I conceal will somehow be revealed?

What if the things that I conceal will somehow be revealed?

 

So I must never cross his path. Scared that he'll find me dear.

I'll deal with all this love myself, together we can't deal.

I'll deal with all this love myself, together we can't deal.

 

 

V. Vysotskiy- Lyrical (Лирическая)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoNcI61e9mc 

 

The paws of firs here tremble from their own weight

Here, restless birds chirp in alarm

Enchanted the woods are you inhabitate,

From which one can never depart.

 

Let the bird cherries dry like linens in the wind

Let the lilacs seep droplets of rain

They won’t stop me from leaving and taking you with,

To a castle where the reed pipes play.

 

Your world has been hidden for thousands of years

By wizards from me and from light.

You’ve come to believe nothing better exists

Than this forest of charm and delight.

 

In the morning, the leaves won’t be covered in dew

And the moon quarrels with the dark sky

Let it be, I’ll still come there, I’ll come and take you

To a cottage down by the seaside.

 

The hour will come, the weekend or weekday,

When you will walk out to me, cautious.

That day, in my arms, I will take you away

To where no one ever will find us.

 

I will steal you if robbery suits your soul best

Not in vain, all my strength I’ve forsaken.

So agree to a heaven within a small tent

If the castle and cottage are taken.

 

Bulat Okudzhava- A Forest Waltz (Лесной Вальс)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MRvJsf0ns0

 

In the woods, beneath a tree, a musician plays his waltz

The musician plays a waltz, with tenderness, with passion.
Once again, I look at you, and my gaze I can’t withdraw,
But you are looking up at him, and he looks into vastness.
 
For a century, there's music. So our picnic’s never through.
Picnic where they drink and cry, where they love and they desert.
The musician pressed his lips to the flute...I would to you!
But you are probably the creek that never quenches thirst.
 
The musician plays his waltz. Doesn’t see or understand.
He just stands, pressing his shoulder to the birch tree’s bark.
And the branches of that birch replace the fingers on his hand,
And his birch eyes are morose, stern, dismal, and dark.
 
Before him, there is a pine, waiting for spring to arrive.
The musician melds with earth. The waltz notes start to pour...
And his slender legs appear to be like the roots of that pine
Beneath the soil, they can’t unwind, entangling more and more.
 
For an century, there's music, our affair is never done.
Tied itself into a knot, a constant flame ablaze.
Why don’t we all go back home! We need to regain our calm..
But you are looking up at him... and the musician plays...
 
Yuri Vizbor- Cuckoo Clock (Ходики)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T09EiPwEpE8 

The day my woman first entered my home

Some books lay in a pile, gathering dust,

My woman said to me: "That’s not enough!

We need more to our home". We were in love.

We took a knapsack that was worn and old

Went out, bought everything that was essential,

We placed a cuckoo clock up on the wall,

Went out and bought a whistling kettle.

 

REFRAIN: 

Oh, there’s no better flame than one which never withers

And there’s no better home than the one that you call home

Where there’s a cuckoo clock that’s ticking in the kitchen,

A whistling kettle, and the woman that I love.

 

The times changed after that, new boundary lines,

Soon, we were overgrown with different items,

They vowed to decorate, make even brighter,

Our already such decorated life.

Rustling with letters, all the snows flew on.

The letters settled down upon my tents, –

At home, thank God, everything was well,

The cuckoo clock just in a little rush.

 

REFRAIN 

 

My woman and I lived a hundred years,

What am I saying, lived at least two centuries...

It seemed to me that, in a new location,

The late afternoon light would not be dim.

There, we would utter quiet words and tunes,

That never could be said in our old life...

And so it took no wisdom to decide

The time had come to rush towards the blue.

 

REFRAIN 

 

Since then, on many shores I’ve come to dock.

Within my country and in foreign lands,

A throbbing followed me, as I remembered,

How often I would fix that cuckoo clock...

A different man sips tea beneath it now,

That clock does not have fault in it at all...

It only married once, married for love

But like, its owner, came to hurry on.

 

REFRAIN 

 

 

Iosif Kobzon- ALYOSHA

 

When fields become covered in frost,
In frost, in frost,
When fields become covered in frost,

And echoing rains start to pour
Alyosha stands firm from Bulgaria,
Bulgaria, Bulgaria,
Alyosha stands firm from Bulgaria -
A Russian soldier.

And sorrow still broods in his soul,
His soul, his soul,
And sorrow still broods in his soul,
For, after the blizzards of lead,
His soldier’s blouse has become stone,
His blouse is now stone,
His soldier’s blouse has become stone,

His boots feel like stones as he stands.

So many of our young soldiers,
Of our young soldiers,
So many of our young soldiers
Fell down from the harrowing loads.
But the fact that this one is Alyosha,
Alyosha, Alyosha,
But the fact that this one is Alyosha,
All Bulgaria knows.

To valleys, to peace, and to hope,
To peace and to hope,
To valleys, to peace and to hope
He’ll never descend from this hill.
He’ll never give flowers to girls,
To girls, to girls,,
He’ll never give flowers to girls,

They give flowers to him.


Familiar, like wind and like sun,
Like wind and like sun.
Familiar, like wind and like sun

Like stars in the evening sky,
He stands, looking over this town,

This town, this town
Seems he has looked over this town
For eternal time.

When fields become covered in frost,
In frost, in frost,
When fields become covered in frost

Or echoing rains start to pour
Alyosha stands firm from Bulgaria,
Bulgaria, Bulgaria,
Alyosha stands firm from Bulgaria -
A Russian soldier.

 

 

EDUARD HIL'- Winter (Зима)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R82_J7LB66o 

 

At the edge of the forest

Lived winter in a cottage

She salted all the snowflakes

In a barrel of birches.

She’d sit down winding yarn and

The canvases she wove.

She forged the icy bridges

As the frozen rivers flowed.

 

Chorus (2x):

 

Ceilings icy and cold,

Doors are creaking,

Just past the scaly door,

Darkness prickling.

You step out on the porch,

Frost surrounds you

From the windows the smoke’s

Bluish blue!  

 

She walked out to the hunt and

She grinded silver hail.

She placed a slender moon in

A frigid crystal pail.

She sewed fur coats for trees and

Laid out paths for the sleds.

And then she hurried back

To her wood cottage for some rest.

 

CHORUS (2x) 

 

Emil' Gorovets- How I love macaroni! (Люблю я макароны)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGhNSRgzii0

 

How I love macaroni! My love for them is heavenly, I swear.

How I love macaroni! Do whatever you want, I just don't care.

To you, it's a simple thing. "It's merely food!" you think.

 

But eat them with a few tomatoes, and sprinkle some black pepper,

Then add some grated cheese, and drink a glass of wine.

A miracle will happen. And then your heart will sing.

Later, you may feel ill, but as for now, you're fine!

 

All those stylish personi, they're following their diets to get thin

They dream of macaroni, but swallow only medicine and pills

But I am a simple man, though also pretty fat!

 

I am poured full of those tomatoes, and then some black, black pepper

Also some grated cheese, and dripping full of wine

And miracles will happen, and then my heart will sing

Later, I may feel ill, but as for now, I'm fine!

 

How I love macaroni! Some people say that they may cause my death

How I love macaroni! For some reason, my girlfriend's not a fan

But one day, dreams will come true. I'll make a plate for two.

 

I will pour so many tomatoes, and add so much black pepper

And grate her lots of cheese, give her a glass of wine

Then she will understand it, and then her heart will sing

Later, she may feel ill, but as for now, we're fine!

 

How I love macaroni! Some people say that they may cause my death

How I love macaroni! For some reason, my girlfriend's not a fan

But one day, dreams will come true. I'll make a plate for two.

One day, my dream will come true, I'll make a plate for two! 

 

 

Lyube- River river take me please (Ты неси меня река) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSYouIbLthM

 

River, river take please! Off beyond the furthest seas

Where the fields are, all my fields, to my forests and my trees.

River, river take me please to the place that I hold dear

Where my darling woman lives. Her eyes as blue as the sea.

 

REFRAIN:

Like a night with no star

Like a river rushing far

Just like a lone moon in the sky

She waits for me, my love, my bride.

 

Far beyond the fog, a flame

Oh how far it seems today

Mighty wind, please help me out!

Send a message to my love.

I know that she waits, my bride!

Gazed her eyes out at the night.

 

REFRAIN

 

River, river take me please! Off beyond the furthest seas

River, river take me please! To the place that I hold dear

...Her eyes as blue as the sea

 

REFRAIN 

 

Mark Bernes- Barges of mullets (Шаланды полные кефали)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDSxfoHWCS8

 

Barges of mullets to Odessa

Kostya each day kept bringing in.

All the sailors would promptly stand up

When he entered the brewery.

The sea gets dark beyond the boulevard

The chestnut blooms over the streets

When Konstantin takes out his guitar

And, quietly, begins to sing.

 

REFRAIN:

I can't speak for the entire Odessa

Odessa has very many shores

But the Moldovanka and Peresip

All adore young Kostya the sailor!

 

Fishing girl Sonya once, in May,

Dragging her boat up to the shore

Said to him, "I heard you are famous,

But I've never seen you before."

Kostya opened a cigarette case

And answered with a chilly air,

"You are a silly little woman,

But here's what you don't understand:"

 

REFRAIN 

 

The fountain specked with buds of cherry

French boulevard fully in bloom

"I heard our Kostya's getting married!"

The port men started shouting soon.

About this news, the whole week through

The fishermen went back and forth

And at the wedding, all the sailors

Stomped squeaking clogs across the floor.  

 

REFRAIN

 

I can't speak for the entire Odessa

Odessa has very many shores

Night and day, danced the entire Peresip

At the wedding of the young sailor!

 

Andrey Mironov- Let's talk! (Давай поговорим)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx3ves7lXhI

 

I tell her again, "There's spring in the air!"

And she replies, "It seems so."

I say, "Don't you think it is beautiful?"

And she replies, "I don't know."

 

"Come here, look!" I say. "The moon's out the glass

The stars look just like breadcrumbs!"

"You're foolish," she says. 'That is just a lamp.

And those are fleas flying around."

 

"If you want," I prod. "I'll sing all your songs,

Them all, one by one, come hear!"

And she says, "Please don't, I don't like those songs.

All singing just hurts my ears."

 

I ask her, "Who makes you tremble and melt 

From joy, passion, and love?"

She shrugs and she says. "Why would you ask that?

I know you already know."

 

I tell her, "I'm not insisting you stay.

If you want to leave, just go."

And she says, "I see that with every phrase

You're becoming more and more bold!"

 

"Alright then," I say. "Farewell, then!" I say.

"This will be my final word."

And she says, "Please wait. Just hold on," she said.

"Let's start this conversation over."

 

"Alright then," I say. "There's spring in the air." 

And she replies, "It seems so."

I say, "Don't you think it is beautiful?"

And she replies, "I don't know." 

 

 Folk song- Katyusha (Катюша)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J__ZdvsZaE 

Blossoming were all apple and pear trees

Fogs were floating over the river

When Katyusha stepped into the clearing

On the shore, the high and steep shore

 

She'd step out and she would sing a song

Of an eagle flying through the sky 

Of the one who she loved.

Of the one whose letters she would hide.

 

Oh you song, you song of a young girl

Fly across the fields, beyond sunlight

Tell the soldier in a foreign world

That Katyusha would like to say hi.

 

He'll remember a young, simple girl

He'll remember how she used to sing

Let him keep our native land safe in the war

And his love, Katyusha will keep.