Belarussian Red Book

CD with blacklisted Belarusian music

From Germany comes the first album compilation published outside Belarus presenting Belarusian rock music: ‘Belarusian Red Book – Music of Belarus’. Most of the bands on the CD have been blacklisted or censored in their home country

The production of the CD was initiated by Ingo Petz from Germany and Maxim Grouchevoi who is a Belarusian living in Germany and who runs the website Belarusnews.de. It is a non-profit project, funded by Robert Bosch Foundation and the German-Belarusian Society. They printed 1,000 copies which have been given away for free. Already within 10 days they are almost out of stock.


CD cover – designed by Ihar Nazaranka

The CD contains 14 songs from 13 different bands, covering the period from 1994 to 2005. Among the bands featured on the compilation are N.R.M., Ulis, Krambambula, Krama, Nejra Dziubiel, and Palac – Belarusian rock legends who have filled stadions and the largests concert halls in the country. Since they performed at a demonstration for the opposition, their music has been blacklisted in Belarusian tv and radio. Only rarely do they get permission to give concerts, and they feel their voices are silenced in the official mass medias. For many of the bands, this has caused depressions and economical problems, eventually causing their artistical work to terminate.

Songs such as ‘Maja Kraina’ (‘My Country’) by Kasia Kamockaja or ‘Majo Pakalenne’ (‘My Generation’) by N.R.M. has advanced to the status of anthems for the youth of the opposition.
On the CD there are also bands which have become known for their independent and original estetics, such as b>Ethno-Pop-Formation Krambambula who in their songs fries and makes fun of the post-sovjet system, and the very popular comedy-duo Sasa i Siroza who combine traditional rhythms and melodies with biting ironical lyrics.

“Almost all famous Belarusian-speaking rockbands supported the compilation project. Some of them, like the famous Lapis Trubiackoj, are not blacklisted, but even so they support our action,” says Ingo Petz: “Our aim was to create attention towards the catastrophic situation which rock bands have to work under in Belarus. Secondly, we wanted to show people in the West something about Belarusian music culture. Because usually people identify Belarus with dictatorship, a land of political catastrophy, so we aimed at showing how Belarusian music is very alive and creative, and in this way to give a positive impulse from the country,” Ingo Petz explains. Together with Maxim Grouchevoi he also organized the first tour of N.R.M. in Germany in October 2005.

The contributing bands each selected a song of their own, and the compilation project was co-ordinated by the artist Hanna Volskaja who is manager for Krambambulja (which is also gainging popularity in Poland and Ukraine) and who is married to Ljavon Volski. He writes the lyrics for the band, and he has also written the foreword in the CD booklet.

The cover is designed by Ihar Nazaranka, a successful designer from Minsk who has also produced supplementing CD-ROM material which – when you put the CD in a computer – features four songs (in MP3-format) with each band, as well as photos and press info.

If you are interested in the cd you can order it directly from Ingo Petz (ingopetz(at)hotmail.com).
The CD is free of charge, but you need to cover the postage (within Germany 2,50 Euros) and since the edition is limited to 1.000 you can only order one CD per person.

Bands on the CD – in track order:

1. Krama (blacklisted)
2. Ja naradziúsia tut
(was a music project – with many blacklisted bands)
3. Krambambula (blacklisted)
4. Palac (blacklisted)
5. Nejra Dziubiel (blacklisted)
6. Sasa i Siroza
(blacklisted in radio and tv. Sometimes they perform live)
7. N.R.M. (blacklisted)
8. Kasia Kamockaja (blacklisted)
9. Lapis Trubiackoj
(famous Belarusian band, also in Russia. Not blacklisted)
10. Narodny Albom
(was a music project – with many blacklisted bands)
11. WZ-orkiestra (status uncertain)
12. Ulis (blacklisted)
14. Drum Ekstasy (blacklisted)

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