Dark is the Night – Тёмная ночь

Since I’m learning Russian, I feel like I’ve got a whole new world that’s starting to reveal itself. Suddenly I can read some titles of Russian ballet videos. I even understand a bit Russian when it’s spoken. It’s only a little bit, but it’s something. I also started searching for Russian music and then came across the band Tracktor Bowling. I’d describe it as metal, and they have some really good songs. Then I stumbled upon a song that isn’t theirs but they’ve once performed it.
It was so beautiful it almost hurt me.

I understood some words, not many, but I searched for the text and found it both in Russian and English. It felt like finding a treasure. Then I read that it’s a song of the movie ‘Two Soldiers’ (1943). This movie is about a war, made during World War 2. The Russians call this war the Great Patriotic War, and they keep the memory alive. Anyway, I found the video with the song as it appeared in the movie. I could as well have won a lot of money – it was so wonderful. The fact that it’s in Russian makes it so powerful. Translations never cover the entire meaning of a text, and I can’t wait to be able to read and understand in fully in Russian. I’m already trying to sing along…

The song’s title is often translated as ‘Dark is the Night’, though it literally means ‘dark night’ (Тёмная ночь). For the original, beautiful Russian text, look here. The translation in English can be found below the two videos. I couldn’t choose. The first one is the song as it was performed in the movie, the second one is done by Tracktor Bowling.

 

 

The night is dark, only bullets are whizzing over the steppe
Only wind rumbles in the wires, and faded stars twinkle.
I know that you don’t sleep in this dark night, my lovely,
And you secretly wipe your tears by the cradle.

I love so much the depth of your gentle eyes,
I want to touch them now with my lips!
The dark night divides us, my lovely,
And severe, black steppe was pushed between me and you.

I do believe in you, my dear friend,
This faith prevented me from the bullets in the dark night…
I am glad and calm in this deadly fight,
Because I know that you will show me love, no matter what wrong happens to me.

The death is not scary, we have faced it many times on the steppe.
And even now it circles around me.
You are waiting for me and you cannot sleep by the cradle.
That’s why I know: nothing wrong will happen to me!

Lyrics by lyricstranslation.

And like this, I’ve added one more post to the series about darkness. Without even meaning to.

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18 Comments

  1. Фантастический сообщение, товарищ!

    Reply
  2. Beautiful song! It will be great when you can understand it all as they sing it.

    Reply
  3. Addie

     /  February 3, 2013

    This is a great post about a really lovely song that is worth listening to in either Russian or English.

    Reply
    • I do believe so too. Even when you don’t understand the lyrics, or when you have to survive with a translation that never really covers the entire meaning, you can still feel it…

      Reply
  4. 🙂
    This blog is starting to feel like home. Wait til you get to songs and lyrics by Visotskiy 😉

    Reply
  5. igor

     /  February 20, 2014

    The translation is not good :/ It does not transcribe the rhythm of the song, does not keep to the meter, and comes out sounding rather cheese with too much pathos. It is better to keep the feel and intent of the song than to keep to exact translation

    Reply
    • Translations never reach the level of the original, unfortunately… I’m sorry you don’t like it. This post was written in the very beginning of when I was studying Russian, so I couldn’t judge all too well which translation would be best. Overall I like the more literal ones more in order to really know what’s being said. In this case I above all wanted to know this for myself.

      If you find a translation that fits the ‘esthetic’ feeling better, feel free to let me know and I will add it to the post!

      Reply
  6. igor

     /  February 22, 2014

    You have nothing to be sorry for 🙂 it is what it is. I’ve looked around and i don’t see anything reasonable. I was actually looking for translation myself (need it for a singing class), and was looking something decent (that is how i found this blog as it came up in the search). I’ve translated it myself for lack of anything better, but it’s not good enough to post. If i happen to find something reasonable, i will post it.

    Reply
  7. Beautiful! Why does the Tracktor Bowling singer say, “Congratulations, with the feast” (ish) before she starts singing?

    It’s really a rhetorical question; I don’t expect you to know the answer but I was surprised to recognize the first two words out of her mouth 😉

    Reply
    • Ooooh, now I hear it! I always thought she said something along the lines of ‘It’s their name, surprising’. Maybe because I found this song after about two months of studying Russian…

      I think you know more Russian than you have stated here. I’m impressed 🙂

      Reply
      • Nah, it’s just that the two words she happened to say are ones we use every single weekend at church. I understand the odd phrase or word here or there, but way less than I’d like to. You’ve inspired me, though, and I’m looking into intensive summer programs for next year 🙂

      • Really? How awesome would it be if we both could speak Russian! And, you know, feel free to visit me in Russia the coming year 😀

      • Look out, I might actually do it! 😀

      • You are very very welcome, since none of my friends or family seem to get it arranged or seem to want to come 😉

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