Ukraine. Oh, Kalina! These are military-folk songs that support the fighting spirit of Ukrainian soldiers.

Giving victory to the Ukrainian song, which mixed rock, rap and folklore, the last Eurovision gave an overview of the music scene of this country. We play on continuity, not on a blank slate, and we continue to know songs by heart that go beyond epochs and generations. And if it was a secret weapon of Ukraine, one of the sources that explains the stability of its army of conscripts?

Apparently, here are 4 of these songs, the most popular, which have collected several hundred thousand views on the Ukrainian You Tube, with their historical context and accurate translation of their words. Note that they have not been upgraded to the NATO standard: there is still love for the carnal homeland and even a few gender stereotypes!

Hey, Falcons! (Hey Hawks!)

This traditional ballad is attested from the first half of the 19th century. Remembering the Cossacks, she connects the oldest Ukrainian folklore: the one that sang the exploits of these free warriors of the steppe, guards of the buffer zone with the Turkish Empire, and whose mentality can be compared with ours. pirates. The frustrated and individualistic tone of the song is fully consistent with what is left of the “thoughts” of traditional Cossack songs.

Lyrics are sometimes attributed to Timko Padura (1801-1871), a romantic poet who took part in the Polish-Ukrainian uprising of 1831 against Tsar Mykola I. A bandura player, a traditional Ukrainian guitar, Padura would be inspired by ancient melodies and celebrate one of the totems. Ukraine – falcon (trident of the coat of arms could be a stylization of a falcon in diving).

Note that this song is more popular in Poland, where it raises hopes for an independent Ukraine that would film Russia.

Hey, somewhere in the Black Waters,

A young Cossack got on a horse.

Plate Young Girl,

Yide Cossack from Ukraine.

Gay! Gay! Hey, falcons!

Avoid mountains, foxes, destinies.

Bell, Bell, Bell, Bell,

Steppe lark

Honey, pour wine
Bury as I die
In distant Ukraine
Circle of cute girls

Hey, where is the black water, a young Cossack on a horse
A young girl in tears and a Cossack leaves Ukraine.

Gay, gay, gay falcons, avoid mountains, forests, valleys.
Bells, bells, bells, steppe larks.


Beloved, pour me wine, and if you die, bury me
In our Ukraine so far, next to my beloved little daughter.

That Ukraine did not die (L.Ukraine is not Again dead)

As a matter of fact, this song does not belong to the folk repertoire. His words come from a poem written in 1862 by Pavel Chubynsky and set to music by the Greek Catholic Pope Mykhailo Verbytsky in the style of Orthodox liturgical choirs.

The work was presented the following year at the Lviv Theater, which was then under Austrian rule. While the rest of Ukraine is being methodically Russified, the Ukrainian minority in Galicia is more free to express its culture under the multinational Habsburg monarchy.

In 1918, this song became the official anthem of the short-lived Ukrainian People’s Republic before it was banned by the Soviet authorities. In 1992, it again became the anthem of post-Soviet Ukraine.

Oh, red viburnum in the meadow.

This is undoubtedly the most popular song in Ukraine, passed down from early childhood, a mixture of A la Claire Fontaine (for the beginning) and Marseillaise (for the end). Built as a folk tune, it dates back to the First World War. Its author is Galician Stepan Charnetsky was inspired by Slavic folk beliefs: the red viburnum is a shrub whose appearance foretells happiness or misfortune.

Charnetsky wrote it for the Sitch Rifle Regiment. This formation of the Cossack tradition remained contrary to all loyal to the independent People’s Republic, while Ukraine from 1917 to 1921 was torn apart by troops of various tendencies: Germans, Poles, tsars, anarchists, Bolsheviks …

There are many versions on the Web, from the most naive to the most organized. The next version starts with the traditional bandura, and then moves to crescendo to more rock rhythms.

Oh, in the meadow the red viburnum leaned,
Our glorious Ukraine is upset about something.
Let’s raise that red viburnum to mine,
And my glorious Ukraine, gay, gay, let’s cheer up!


Hey, in polite spring wheat golden flax,

Ukrainian shooters with tan enemies have started!

Let’s pick that spring wheat for mine,

And my glorious Ukraine, gay, gay, let’s cheer up!

Oh, in the meadow red viburnum bends,

For some reason, our glorious Ukraine is desperate.

And red viburnum, we will lift you up

And our glorious Ukraine, gay, gay, we will comfort her!


Hey, in a field of golden spring wheat,

Ukrainian shooters started dancing with enemies!

But we will collect spring wheat

And our glorious Ukraine, gay, gay, we ache!

March of the New Army (March of the New Army)

This military march with a testosterone overdose has become the anthem of the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the war in Donbass. The current revised version was presented in 2018 during a military parade to the National Holiday on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the People’s Republic of Ukraine. Former President Poroshenko sang it personally and advertised it as a symbol ” an inseparable link between the next generations of freedom fighters “.

Its origins are more distant, as its first version (“March of Ukrainian Nationalists”) was written in 1929 in Galicia, which came under Polish sovereignty. It was adopted as the official anthem of the OUN, an organization of Ukrainian nationalists, the main trend of which was led by Stepan Bandera. Controversial figure, as he tried to enter into an alliance with Hitler (in practice, he spent most of the German occupation in prison).

The song echoes the ultra-violence of the period marked by the collectivist genocide of 1932 (several million Ukrainians killed) and the Holocaust (which began in 1941 in Ukraine).

The end of the text provokes Ukrainian territorial claims: from the San River (to the current border with Poland), to the Caucasus (ie the whole of southern Russia, the Cossack steppes). Knock on the tree with viburnum, so that the war ended earlier.

We were born at a great hour,

Fire of war and flame of fire.

We were saddened by the loss of Ukraine,

We were fed anger, anger at our enemies.

We are going into battle in triumph,

Hard, strong, indestructible as granite,

Because crying did not give anyone freedom

But he who fights, conquers the world.

The great truth is true for all,

Our proud vocation gives this to our people:

“Compatriots, be faithful to death,

For us, Ukraine is above all! ”

The glory of fallen heroes leads us into battle,

For us, the highest goal is the law:

“Independent Ukrainian nation

Free and strong, from the San to the Caucasus! »


Photo: DR

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