Boris and Natasha

This post celebrates Christmas in an indirect way – there are some sleigh-bells and images of snowy forests. But it also recalls a marvelous moment in the mid-80’s when I was in France. The 7-year old daughter of my host family began to sing a hauntingly beautiful song to me one day. I kept asking her to repeat the lyrics so I could learn it. I noticed Russian words, along with references to the Ukraine, the Czarina, etc. There were some words I recognized, such as a troïka [sleigh], but there were many I did not know.

The thing I love about this mysterious song is the unavoidable association with the Commie spy Natasha, and her sidekick Boris Badenov from Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.  As a kid, I loved the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show but I did not grasp until many years later that its creator was spoofing Communist agents.  I had a big crush on Natasha – her deep and throaty voice still turns me on. I can still hear her saying “we must crush this little squirrel” in reference to Rocky. Turns out it was June Foray I was in love with! I heard they made a full-length movie about Boris and Natasha a while back, but I will NEVER watch it. I want the real thing or nothing.

If anyone knows about the origins of the folksong, please comment below. Enjoy your ride through the Ukrainian winter forests in the troïka, with Boris, Natasha and the animals – it’s not quite Jingle Bells but I find it even more appealing.

Dans la forêt blanche d’UkraineDans la troika
Glisse une blanche troïka
Dans le silence elle promène
Petit Boris et Natacha

{Refrain}
Raconte-nous, petite mère,
Ce qu’ils ont vu sur le chemin
Raconte-nous, petite mère
Jusqu’à demain

Chez la Tsarine

Chez la Tsarine

Ils rencontrent la zibeline,
Le renard bleu et puis le loup
Si vous allez chez la Tsarine
Voulez-vous nous prendre avec vous ?

{au Refrain}

Nous n’allons pas chez la Tsarine
Nous retournons à notre isba
Loup et renard et zibeline
Sont montés dans la troïka

{au Refrain}

Et tous ensemble, ils s’en reviennent
Serrés pour ne pas avoir froid
Dans la forêt blanche d’Ukraine
Avec Boris et Natacha

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