What is The Georgian Song About?
This is an English translation of an older but extremely popular and beautiful Russian song. The original version of this song in Russian has what seems to be multiple mysterious meanings. It’s a song to friends, to a loved one, and has Georgian symbolism. But it feels like a love song so I changed some of the lyrics to be more explicit with the love for a woman.
On my YouTube channel and this website, I posted a number of Bulat Okudzhava songs in English. So if you like this song, check out the playlist below:
When I first listened to this song, I found it so touching and pretty in how magically the tender moods of the song transition from one to another. Give it a try. This is a great one. It’s one of the most romantic songs I know even though it isn’t explicit in its gushing proclamations of love.
Deep Song Lyrics Without Being Pretentious
Okudzhava’s songs feel simple and accessible, yet he connects many dynamics in this song. In the original song in Russian, he even references “father in heaven will forgive me” which is a reference I changed in the English version. He used that reference next to ones to friends and what seems to be a romantic relationship. My explanation is quite rough, but my translations themselves took a long time each and I worked very painstakingly on them, trying to relate the deep song lyrics in his music.
This song is sweet in nature, but grandiose in aspiration as it references the meaning of life and hints that what else is better in life if it isn’t to open your heart with friends. And that’s hard to argue. The song doesn’t leave it at that, but builds on the idea of opening your heart in a romantic way as well. The original ends in references to Georgia (the country) with the idea behind it that it’s another thing to open your heart to.
How My Translation Is Different Than The Original
I took out references to Georgia which freed me from additional grape references. For those who don’t know, Georgia is known for its great wine.
As far as my translation is concerned, that left me about 25% of the song to replace with different lyrics. I took some liberties with that space and made the song much more romantic. I always had the feeling that this song wanted to be a little bit more romantic, but because it focused on friendships and other things, could not fully focus on the romantic part of the song. My translation takes the song in a romantic direction and I think it’s close to the essence of the song.
Similar In Style To Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, And Neil Young
For a few decades now, American and English-language music has not had new great poet singer-songwriters. My work in translating Okudzhava is an effort to add introduce another such magician who writes relatable songs and songs about living life and thinking about it in interesting ways to English-speaking audiences who otherwise would not be able to enjoy this music in its original Language, which is Russian.