Rus Articles Journal

How Mikhail Sholokhov inspired Pete Seeger on creation of a song? To birthday of a great folksinger of

Old times Pete Seeger - a figure for American folk - music large-scale and even in something odious. The public figure, the fighter for the rights humiliated and offended, the communist whom the Ministry of Justice of the USA was even going to put behind bars at the end of 1950 - x... Well, and, of course, the author and the popular writer of many great folk - songs.

to Take at least “Goodnight, to Irene“ (“Good night, Iren“) and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine“ (“Kisses is more sweet than wine“) which are written down as a part of THE WEAVERS group. Or the song “If I Had a Hammer“ ( “If at me was a hammer“) with the words “In My Hands the Hammer and a Bell Ringing, and I Sing the Song for the Whole World Today, an Unity Hammer, Freedom Bell, the Song of the World and Love, the Song of a Brotherhood“ . Or two religious anthems - “We Shall Overcome“ (“We will overcome everything“) which turned into a fight symbol for the rights of the American black, and “Turn, Turn, Turn“, become a megahit performed by BYRDS.

About “Turn, Turn, Turn“ I still will write, and now we will talk about other well-known song of Seeger - “Where Have All The Flowers Gone“ (“Where all flowers disappeared?“) which history is very remarkable and takes the sources of century. Mikhail Sholokhov`s novel “Quiet Don“.

It happened so that at the beginning of 1950 - x the novel fell into the singer`s hands, and it was hooked by one of songs to which performed by Darya the falling asleep Grigory Melekhov listens.

p.1, hl. 3:
“- And Ida geese?
- went To a cane.
- And Ida a cane?
- Maids squeezed out.
- And Ida of the maid?
- Maids in marriage left.
- And Ida Cossacks?
- went For war …“
Subsequently Seeger will even find

a prototype of a similar national song in Ukraine under the name “Tovchu Poppy“ (“Tolchu poppy“):

“- And that º sea?
- Kv_tkami overgrew.
- And t ³ ¿ kv_tka?
- D_vki tore.
- And t ³ ¿ d_vka?
- Hlopts_ pobrat.
- And t ³ ¿ hlopts ³?
- P_shli on a v_yna“.
But then he just made by

a sketch in the notebook which was unused up to 1955. As Pete remembers, the idea to glance in record was born in time of air flight to Ohio. There he found the following lines: “Where all flowers? Their girls collected. And where all girls? They married. And where their husbands? All of them in army“ . Here unexpectedly one more line “Long time passing“ came to Seeger`s mind (“What is the time passed“) . And when the passenger sitting at it told the wife (meaning children): “When they will learn?“ , couplets received end.

Oleg Nesterov`s translation:

Where flowers, give me the answer,
where they remained?
Where flowers, give me the answer,
where they grow?
Where flowers, give me the answer -
of the girl broke, and they are not here.
When will understand all this? When all understand

And girls where, give the answer,
where they remained? to
of the Girl where, give the answer,
where they live? to
of the Girl where, give the answer -
married, and they are not here.
When will understand all this? When all understand

And where their husbands, give the answer,
where they remained? to
Where their husbands, give the answer,
where now live? to
Where their husbands, give the answer -
became soldiers, and they are not here.
When will understand all this? When all understand
the Song would not be so attractive by

, do not put it Seeger on a fine melody, about an origin to which he speaks so: “I considered myself it as the author. But once my friend found out that on this melody there is the Irish song. I wrote down “Where Have All the Flowers Gone“ at very slow speed - as slow Irish songs are usually sung“.

First Pete did not attach special significance to the song and wrote down it once, having included in the potpourri from short songs on an album “Rainbow Quest“ (1960).
In such look (from three couplets) it was heard by the student of the Dublin college Joe Hikerson. Being in summer camp, it quite often lost composition to children, and those composed on it different amusing verses. As a result of Joe himself it was inspired - added two couplets to the initial version, and at the end repeated the first, than gave to the song the finished cyclic look.

And where soldiers, give the answer,
where they remained? to
Where soldiers, give the answer,
them so wait! to
Where soldiers, give the answer -
laid down in graves, and they are not here.
When will understand all this? When all understand

Where graves, give the answer,
where they remained? to
Where graves, give the answer,
where tears pour? to
Where graves, give the answer -
became in the flowers, and they are not here.
When will understand all this? When all understand

Where flowers, give me the answer... etc.

Some inexplicably the song filtered into masses. 1962 when it, without arranging, two trios - PETER, PAUL AND MARY and KINGSTIN TRIO wrote down became its “hour of triumph“ - and the song became madly popular. KINGSTIN TRIO occupied with “Where Have All the Flowers Gone“ 24 - e the place in a hit - parade, and, including song, a debut disk of St. Petersburg, Paul and Mary - at all flew up on top top. It is amusing that both collectives first did not suspect about Seeger`s authorship and considered the song national.

Pete Seeger: “My manager heard
about it and asked: “Pete! Whether you wrote “Where have all the flowers gone …“? I speak: “Yes. About three or four years ago“. The question followed: “And you affirmed copyright?“ “I think what is not present.“ “KINGSTIN TRIO wrote down it recently.“ I phoned to Dave Gard - he was a remarkable guy, I knew it well, - he answered: “About Pete! We did not know that it is your song. We will clean the names from there.“ It was very friendly gesture from their party. Now I give
to Joe Hikerson who added to the song two couplets, twenty percent from the royalties“.

B it for the first time was executed same 1962 by great Marlene Dietrich - executed in German under name «Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind“, and subsequently sang also the French version - “Que Sont Devenues les Fleurs“ (which Dalida sang later). Covers on the song there was an incalculable set, it became a peculiar anti-war symbol of 1960 - x years.

Seeger wanted to thank for Sholokhov`s song long ago and even sent to the writer in 1960 the letter with notes of a song and the concert invitation to the USA. Speak, notes to Sholokhov reached, and here the invitation “got lost“ in archive of department of foreign communications of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR. the Author of the book “Sketches about English - the American Music 50 - 60 - x Years of the 20th Century“ Valery Pisigin mentions
how in 2004 Seeger discussed with it idea to transfer part of the fees for the song... Russia.

Valery Pisigin:
“Pete Seeger... began to explain that wants to send money to Russia for the song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone“ as this song is partly borrowed “the Russian people“ … Pete organized campaign for reform of Public possession which tries to make changes to the international agreements and laws in the sphere of intellectual property. Now Pete Seeger has to show the example that the money received for performance “not“ of the“ songs should share with the real authors.
… I remember, we with Svetlana Brezitskaya tried to explain that to transfer to Russia money - all the same what to start up them on wind, to dispel over the ocean, to scatter in the desert …“

Yes, actually, and is not clear to whom to list this fee. So the idea also hanged in air.
But the Russian performers can rehash this song safely. By the way, the first Russian-language version is dated even 1976. - a concert “Find the song in the movie“ it Zhanna Bichevskaya sings, having strongly changed it on sovetsko - patriotic manners with poppies and an eternal flame:

... Yes, I know where flowers,
Where all poppies.
On graves at guys
All flowers.

Yes, I know where flowers,
Where all poppies.
Burn they burn
As eternal flames.

the text, closer to the original, was written by the leader of the MEGALOPOLIS group Oleg Nesterov (I quoted his translation above). He remembered that he for the first time heard “Where Have All the Flowers Gone“ in the French option.

Oleg Nesterov:
“I got sick with this song. Arrived to Germany to my friends. I speak: “Here you know, there is such French song …“. On what they to me: “About! The brother, you mine, is not the French song. It is the song performed by Marlene Dietrich. She sings it in three languages“. Also presented me CD - box. The German version was the best, the most penetrating since for Marlene Dietrich it is the native language. I began to translate into Russian. Translated, in my opinion, long 5 years since the song has difficult structure, such round dance. I did not manage to make well it in any way“.

B 1999 Nesterov at last wrote down the option - “Where flowers?“ - together with Masha Makarova, having presented the song in unusual electronic, almost trip - hopovy, to processing.