Words: Felice Cascione c. 1943
Melody: ‘Katyusha’ Ukranian Folksong
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole 1990
During the Second World War resistance to Fascism and the Nazi occupation of Italy was carried out by courageous men and women organised into various political groupings. Known as the partisans, they would attack railway lines, bridges and other strategic targets, usually under cover of darkness, and their achievements greatly assisted the liberation of Itly in 1943 and 1944.
The commander of the “Garibaldi Battalion”, Felice Cascione, has been credited with writing the lyrics of this song, and although the attribution is uncertain it is certainly from the Left of the resistance.
Our version of the text came from Sydney’s Gay Liberation Quire in the late 1980’s where it had been changed to be less gender-specific.
Our version is considerably different from the song in its traditional form. The opening bars invoke the ominous gathering of dark war clouds, and the breaking of the storm is depicted by thunderous polyphony. A sense of unity is achieved in the partisans’ declaration of their purpose “to win a scarlet springtime” but the mood becomes uneasy as the danger is resumed, and the partisans march resolutely through two more verses. At the end there is a calming of the storm followed by a spontaneous clamour, in four part polyphony, amid the fluttering scarlet flags of victory.
The wind whistles, the storm is raging. Broken shoes, and yet we must go on to win a scarlet springtime where the future sun will rise. Every district is the rebel’s homeland, every woman sighs for us. In the night the stars guide us. Strong are our hearts, our arms ready to strike. If cruel death harvests us the partisans’ vengeance will be hard. Then the hard fate of the vile fascist traitor will be assured!
The wind stops. The storm calms. The proud partisan returns home his red flag fluttering. Victorious we are finally free.
Fischia il vento infuria la bufera,
Scarpe rotte eppur bisogna andar.
A conquistare la rossa primavera
Dove sorge il sol del avvenir.
Ogni contrada e patria del ribelle,
Ogni donna a noi dona un sospir.
Nella notte ci guidano le stelle.
Forte il cuore il braccio nel colpir!
Se ci coglie la crudele morte,
Dura vendetta sara del partigian.
Ormai sicura sara la dura sorte
Del fascista vile traditor!
Cessa il vento. Calma e la bufera.
Torna in casa il fiero partigian.
Sventolando la rossa sua bandiera.
Vittoriosi al fin liberi siam, liberi siam!