Our woman in Novorossiysk
It’s a footnote, to a footnote, to history, but Mexico made an important contribution to Russian culture, and played perhaps a more important role in the “Great Patriotic War” of 1941-45, when the Soviet Union lost 11,000,000 soldiers and perhaps 20,000,000 civilians.
Bleak days, indeed, but what kept the home fires burning was the voice of Ruzhena Sikora. IN May 1941, as a singer with the Soviet Radio Jazz Orchestra she was an instant hit, bringing Russianized versions of new music to Soviet audiences. At the start of the German invasion, she worked as an air-raid warden in Moscow, but soon volunteered to entertain both on the front lines and in military hospitals.
18 year old Mexican budding songwriter Consuela Velásquez’ “Besame Mucho” perfectly captured the feelings of the Soviets (and the other allies) who never knew if their loved ones would return or not perfectly. Sikora’s Russian styling made Песня Сердца one of the most popular songs in the Soviet Union, and would become her and became her signature piece over her 40 year career.