“Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl”


Leonid Kharitonov – “Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl”

Russian Cossack Folk Song. Music – M. Blanter, Lyrics – I. Selvinsky.
This song was composed especially for Leonid Kharitonov.
The video clip is from the “New Year’s Kidnapping” Musical Movie, 1969.

Attention: This video has English subtitles!

Song Description

This song is about a Cossack Soldier who once met a dark-eyed Cossack girl and asked her to shoe his horse. The girl agreed and asked for a very small price. The man asked her name since he liked her very much. The girl refused to tell her name and answered that the Cossack would hear it right from under his horse’s shoes when he rides it. The Cossack started riding his horse and guessing her name – Masha? Zina? Dasha? Nina?.. No, they were all wrong… KATYA, KATYA, KATERINA – the horseshoes knocked her name…!!! Since those times wherever the Cossack went he always whispered “KATYA, KATYA, KATERINA”… He was thinking that that was an obsession since he already had another girlfriend. But the strange thing was that he could never take that Cossack girl’s name out of his chest as it was a never ending song inside there…

Critical Commentary

Many Russian songs are serious or sad, but Kharitonov is also known for singing comic songs or arias. The composer Matvey Blanter wrote Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl (Russian: Черноглазая казачка) especially for him in 1966. Kharitonov’s definitive performance was recorded in 1969. Again he is celebrating Chaliapin’s legacy as the first modern bass to successfully fuse drama – and humour – with pure musical technique, as in Chaliapin’s performance of Dark Eyes.

Moreover this performance of Kharitonov’s demonstrates the Ensemble’s style, which in the era of A.V. and B.A. Alexandrov encouraged soloists to stay in tune in spite of any vibrato, any emotional acting, or any humour. Therefore, although the song involves laughter, he laughs elegantly in tune. All the while he is making faces and humorous gestures, his vocal tone and pitch remain spot-on. That is the achievement of this kind of performance: while the audience and the other musicians laugh so much at Kharitonov’s clowning, at the same time they are aware of highly disciplined singing, and the performance remains perfectly musical. This performance demonstrates that discipline is fundamental to musical elegance.


Lyrics:

Черноглазая казачка
Подковала мне коня.
Серебро с меня спросила,
Труд недорого ценя.
Как зовут тебя, молодка?
А молодка говорит:
Имя ты мое услышишь
Из под топота копыт.

Я по улице поехал,
По дороге поскакал.
По тропинке между бурых,
Между серых, между скал.
Маша, Зина, Даша, Нина ?
Все как будто не она.
Катя, Катя высекают
Мне подковы скакуна.

С той поры хоть шагом еду,
Хоть галопом поскачу,
Катя, Катя, Катерина,
Неустанно я шепчу.
Что за бестолочь такая,
У меня ж другая есть!
Ну, а Катю, словно песню,
Из груди брат не известь.

Черноглазая казачка
Подковала мне коня.
Серебро с меня спросила,
Труд недорого ценя.
Как зовут тебя, молодка?
А молодка говорит:
Имя ты мое услышишь
Из под топота копыт.

Once a dark-eyed Cossack girl
Shod my horse.
She asked for a small amount of money
Not highly valuing her work.
What’s your name, young lady?
And the young lady replies:
“You’ll hear my name
In the clatter of your horse’s hooves.”

I rode along the street,
I galloped the roads,
And along the path among brown rocks,
And among gray rocks.
“Masha? Zina? Dasha? Nina?”
None seem to be her name.
“Katya! Katya!” – was sounded to me
By my racer’s horseshoes.

And since that time, whether I ride
Or whether I gallop –
“Katya, Katya, Katerina…” –
I endlessly whisper.
What a muddle-head I am!
Because I have another girlfriend!
But I cannot get Katya, like a song,
Out from my soul, brother!

Once a dark-eyed Cossack girl
Shod my horse.
She asked for a small amount of money
Not highly valuing her work.
What’s your name, young lady?
And the young lady replies:
“You’ll hear my name
In the clatter of your horse’s hooves.”


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18 Responses to ““Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl””

  1. Dima the Excellent says:

    I remember listening to this a few months ago for the first time. I speak some russian but not enough to grasp what the song was about. I liked it despite my idiocy and thought Leonid was cute and sang very well. That was all I thought about the entire masterpiece until I looked the lyrics up, I should’ve sooner!

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