Soloveyka vdrug zamoltshal,
rozu klyuvom tronul lekhko:
"Tý nashol, shto ishtshesh", on skazal,
"vyetshným snom zdyes spit Suliko."
Suddenly the little nightingale fell silent
and softly touched the rose with his beak:
"You have found what you are looking for", he said,
"Suliko is sleeping here in eternal slumber."
Words and music: Folksong from Grusinia
a as in "bar", e as in "bed", i as in "bid", o as in "bore", u as in "blue"
y = as in "yellow" /
ý = dull i, as in "bill"
s = always voiceless, as in "son" / z = voiced, as in "zone"
sh = voiceless, as in "mesh" / zh = voiced, like the s in "measure"
kh = mostly rough, like the ch in Scotch "loch", but smooth when "e" or "i" follows
a, e, i, o, u, y
= the underlined vowel signifies the stressed syllable of a word.
Arrangement for balalaika, musical notation,
transcription and analogous translation: Kai Kracht
This song, so full of soul
and oriental magic, comes from the Caucasus.
Many text versions are known,
in Grusinian as well as in Russian language,
and here is one of the most widely spread Russian versions.
Who is still aware nowadays
that this simple song
with its touching, longing tune
had to go through the ups and downs
of a spectacular political career?
Since this song, like Stalin, came from Grusinia
it was held to be "Stalin's favourite song",
and for a long time it was sung often and fervently.
Later, when Stalin's personality cult was condemned in 1956,
also "Suliko" was banned and was not heard for years ...
But today there is a new generation,
and they can sing this song again,
unencumbered by the resentments of the past
just because "Suliko" is a beautiful song.
© Kai Kracht 2002