We might not have Grammy winning artists in Belarus right now, but luckily more and more interesting music projects have started to appear in recent years.
Here’s a selection of some of the top tracks produced by Belarusian musicians and carefully selected by experts’ voting.
Sit back, put on your earphones and enjoy!
Akute – Kali b ya zastausya z taboy
Fourth album by a Mogilev-based three-piece Akute, ‘Plastyka’ (Plastics) didn’t spawn big hits, but it’s consistent in bringing together all what fans love about the band: melodies, rhythm and slightly depressive lyrics in Belarusian.
The musicians devoted the song titled ‘Kali b ya zastausya z taboy’ (‘Had I stayed with you’) to the fighters for freedom in Ukraine.
Mustelide – Opushka
Second album by the ‘electronic princess’ of Belarus, ‘Spi’ (Sleep) came out during a row of showcase festival and other international appearances, which culminated in two Reeperbahn festival performances and her first European club tour last autumn.
The album is a sure step ahead after the well-received debut ‘Secret’ (2014), with a more intriguing atmosphere and profound arrangements.
The video for the song was shot mostly in Norwegian fjords by a guy who just loved the music and offered his services.
Lavon Volski – Tsioplae Minulae
New solo album by a Belarusian rock legend Lavon Volski, ‘Psykhasamatyka’ (Psychosomatics) was released less than a year after the sudden death of his wife and producer Hanna Volskaya from cancer, when the crowdfunding for the record was already announced and it was well in the works.
Original concept with two different – electric and lyrical – 8-song parts, great songwriting from Lavon and sound producing from Vilnius-based Norwegian Snorre Bergerud make it a thrilling rock album to listen to.
‘Tsioplae minulae’ (Warm past) is an autobiographical song with very personal lyrics and video, based on singer’s photos from childhood to present days.
Nebulae Come Sweet – Le N
‘It’s Not The Night That Covers You’ is the debut full-length by a Minsk post-metal band. It is a very well crafted and conceptual affair based on long-form poem, written by the singer of the band.
Musically, this record about complex arrangements and a striking stylistical range covered: from different kinds of metal to ambient and acoustic pieces.
Two songs with guest vocals from singers of Moloken (Sweden) and Minsk (the USA) are also a nice point, but luckily enough they are just among other best songs of the album, which can be easily proved by the lead single ‘Le N’.
Pafnutiy’s Dreams – Opus
A rare case: in 2010 trumpet/French horn player Pavel Kuzyukovich left the biggest Belarusian rock band Lyapis Trubetskoy to pursue a more art-orientated career.
He has lived up to his declarations, returning to the National Opera and Ballet Theatre Orchestra and starting several indie/alternative projects of his own, doing something totally unexpected all the time.
Second album by Pafnutiy’s Dreams, ‘Sutra podsolnukha’ (Sunflower sutra) is an atmospheric mix of music and quality international literature, including Edgar Allan Poe, Antonio Machado, Tomas Tanstromer, Carl Sandburg and many others, translated to Russian. The cited track ‘Opus’ is based on the poem ‘Niño tras un cristal’ by Luis Cernuda.
Shuma – Rano-Rano
Shuma is currently the best Belarusian example of mixing folk songs and up-to-date electronic arrangements.
Their second album ‘Sontsa’ (Sun) is a step into a more accessible and danceable deep house direction, while maintaining the sophisticated character of sound and arrangements, produced by Minsk-based Alexis Scorpio.
Bringing together something as distant as modern club grooves and ancient tunes, it’s equally brilliant as a club and as a folk record.
Based on the article by Dmitri Bezkorovainyi, editor-in-chief of Experty.by, a website about Belarusian music. See the full list here.