Lyapis Trubetskoy fills venue after venue in Russia and countries around. They are conquering audiences both with their heavy ska flair as well as with punk pop hits. In 2009 they won the RAMP (Russian Alternative Music Prize) and became the best alternative band of the year 2009.
Contagious rock melodies together with lyrics that are filled with dark humour have charmed even the spoiled critics of Western music who, up until now, had rarely given Eastern European rock music a second thought.
Just check out the live video of their track ‘Manifest’ on YouTube to get an idea of their powerful concerts. For Lyapis’ artistic side check out ‘Capital’, the video, which last year won Best International Video at MTV Portugal. There, the band slams the current obsession with wealth and war and portrays defiant dictators Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Saddam Hussein and, of course, Belarus’ own Lukashenko as pseudo-religious icons. The poignant message hits home, whether you’re an anarchist or a republican. The clip was banned from airplay in Belarus and Russia, of course, but won numerous awards everywhere else and is a real hit with the YouTube masses. This is what Ingo Petz, renowned German journalist and Belarus expert writes in the liner notes to this CD:
“With hits like ‘Kapital’ or ‘Ramonki’ Lyapis Trubetskoy are balanced well between commercial success, underground credibility and unique expression, which was also accompanied by visually sophisticated video clips and an original image and design brand. The lyrics are still ironic, but now they often boasted a new socially critical and political dimension. ‘Kapital’ was the first of three albums, which can be understood as a triology, in which Lyapis made Agitpop as their new trademark. Hence the title of the album, which is a compilation of the best songs from this triology.
Their wild concerts have now developed into performances with frontman Mikhalok at their centre, a magniloquent ball of energy and creative brain, who agitates and recites poems and slogans, using the language and symbols of constructivism or socialist realism as part of a cultural heritage. I have been hoping for a long time that Lyapis Trubetskoy, one of the most powerful, creative and interesting bands from the former Soviet Union, would finally release an album in the Western world. Now it has finally happened. The fact that Berlin label Eastblok Music has done it makes me even happier, as they explicitly see themselves as musical mediators between East and West. As someone who has been travelling to Belarus for over 15 years, I am even happier that for the first time a Belarusian band has made it onto a Western label, as Lypais is a band from a European country with a very lively music scene, which we still don’t know much about.”