Filipinki: Batumi (Muza, 1964)

17 Jan

This first posting of 2012 offers a small, feather-light hymn to the city of Batumi in the Soviet Caucasus by Poland’s leading early 1960s female vocal group, Filipinki, whose history is discussed in a little more detail in this earlier post, where their commemorative twist-song, dedicated to Valentina Tereshkova, the first female Cosmonaut, was given an approximate English version. After some very helpful translation from the Cyrillic titles on a series of small postcards (many thanks to the poet Peter Daniels for that effort) it was also possible to confirm that a few of the views contained in a 1955 Soviet folder, forwarded to me along with a CD by Martin Joela of the excellent Melodija website in Tallin, show one or two scenes from the city celebrated in this particular song. Released in 1964 on the same EP as the Wala-Twist (Valentina Twist) the song can be heard here and the original Polish lyric (and a probably slightly more accurate English translation) can both be found here.

Batumi

(after Artemij Ajwazjan/Ola Obarska, 1964)

In our wanderings we’ve seen many cities,
many rivers and seas, mountains among many stars.
But the city we sing about, and remember now,
the city that nourishes our kindest dreams
of how things might be: that city is Batumi.

Yes, Batumi, circled by fields of fragrant grass
the colour of tea or skin touched by sun,
where cicadas cradle us in sleep till dawn
and we’ll wake to one more moment of happiness.

We leave this city with heavy hearts, say ‘Farewell Georgia’
with a little song, launch our words like boats
on the resonant, expansive echoes of here.
When we close our eyes, we’ll see Batumi once more,
picture this place where our dreams can breathe.

Yes, Batumi, circled by fields of fragrant grass
the colour of tea or skin touched by sun,
where cicadas cradle us in sleep till dawn
and we’ll wake to one more moment of happiness.

In our wanderings we’ve seen many cities,
many rivers and seas, mountains among many stars.
But the city we sing about, and remember now,
the city that nourishes our kindest dreams
of how things might be: that city is Batumi.

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