We were riding in one of Spain's good trains and the coach was crowded with a group of schoolgirls... accompanied by four young, attractive nuns. ...The girls subsided into informal group singing. 'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean' and 'Old Black Joe' they dedicated to me. I think they next sang 'Cielito Lindo', which made their first three songs English, American and Mexican, which was properly international for a group of Catalans. Then they began a soft folk song, one of the best ever written; I have often wondered why it has not been introduced to the United States... I could not believe that the girls of this Catholic school were singing it, so I asked one of the nuns, 'What's the song?'
'"Stinki Rass,"' she said.
They were even singing it under its own name; in the United States some school-board member would have insisted that new words be substituted, for this was one of the great revolutionary songs. 'What do the words mean?' I asked.
'It's a song of freedom,' the nun said. 'Stinki Rass was a man who loved freedom.'
The girls were singing a Catalan version of 'Stenka Razin', the Volga folk song that speaks of the famous revolutionary who defied the tsar and surrendered his head on the public chopping block sometime around 1700...