OPSCENE (Holland) OCT/NOV 1992

Ne Zhdali

Ne Zhdali Opscene Interview


The lifting of the iron curtain has - certainly in a cultural sense - proved itself a good thing. The underground of the former eastern block can now bloom above ground and finally musical ideas can openly be exchanged with the free(?) West. Gradually it is becoming clear that in the former eastern block there exists a cornucopia of talented bands .for instance from Czechoslovakia Jablkon, Ser Un Peyjalero and Uz Jsme Doma. In Hungary are Kampec Dolores, muszikas and galloping coroners and it appears that former Soviet Union is also a breeding ground for up and coming talent.

A band that for years is known as being extremely talented and showing much promise is Estonia's Ne Zhdali. Instrumental finesse accompanied by an indescribable enthusiasm on stage. That is Ne Zhdali in a nutshell. The band plays a puzzling hotchpotch of styles. Their sound includes folk, hardcore and a smattering of oom pa pa muziek. (a sort of cross between a day at the circus and a guided tour around the wonka chocolate factory.. Ed). Whilst not forgetting-also the odd avant-gardist experiment. That all of these styles have been effortlessly woven into a whole is proven by..“ Rhinoceroses and other forms of life. ”, the debut long player from '89 is a beautiful blueprint of Ne Zhdali's talents, but live their music comes across even sharper and more convincing across. (this is without a doubt a "live" band.)

How this in heavens name happened was told to me straight from the "horses mouth" by Ne Zhdali frontman and guitarist Leonid Soybelman

Leonid: "Ne Zhdali formed about five years ago because the theater in Tallinn needed a band. But because we don't fit into the musical infrastructure in Tallinn (Estland) we have chosen more or less for life in the west. Where we came into contact with people from Denmark and friends like dole Morzelpronk from the A.D.M studio in Amsterdam. In fact we play more gigs in Amsterdam then in Tallinn. In the A.D.M studios in Amsterdam we recorded our album which was produced by dole Morzelpronk. Apart from this we also work with one other dutchman Frank Noordmaan who also does a lot of promotional work for us."

"We all have very different musical backgrounds, but we have been able to mix this into one whole." Continues Leonid. "Folk, hardcore, jazz and traditional elements are the ingredients, but the whole stands like a house of cards. You could describe our music as a layer cake made of the ingredients I mentioned. I'm not anxious to prove this , it is a simple fact. Maybe our sound is influenced by what we have experienced and discovered over the years. For now I am an israeli citizen and the others because of the political situation in the former Soviet Union are more or less stateless. Officially they are still considered citizens of the Soviet Union, but that doesn't exist anymore and it is enormously difficult to assume a Estonian citizenship if you haven't been there for a long time. It would be better for us if we were based in a cosmopolitan city. Such as Amsterdam, Paris, New York or London. But at the moment we just consider ourselves world citizens.

"The living standards in Estonia have not really improved since it declared it's independence." Says Leonid in closing. "Poverty is rampant, the people have the right to vote but there is no bread in the shops and it is getting worse."

The book of the future for the new eastern block states will be one full of black pages. Let's hope that Ne Zhdali's page will remain white.

translated (very -freely' )by Anthony Hughes 3/11/92