spring of 1993 (name of the magasin losted in the space)

Unexpected Return

"Rock is slowly and tragically transforming into pop."


So lamented Leonid Soybelman, leader er of Tallinn's super crew Ne Zhdali, three years ago on the eve of his emigration to Israel.

The band name-meaning "You Did Not Expect Us" - well caught the sensation which his departure caused. Ne Zhdali was at the peak of its popularity, having achieved all a rock band, playing alternative music, could hope for.

As well as huge fame in Russia, Ne Zhdali had already conquered Scotland Danmark and Belgium, and boosted an LP and a 25-gig tour of Holland. In the old Soviet Union they were unrivaled in terms of style and showmanship. Their concert left very few spectators unmoved.

The Jewish-Estonian crew, dressed in strict dark jackets and yellow skirts (look-ing like thev might have been made from kitchen curtains), fired up the auidience in a way гeministcent of Salvador Dali. Their programm White Eggs Begin and Win was an excellently-produced synthesis of almost everything-from "honky-tonk-woman" to Krishna melodies.

"Our music is more supra-national than Akvarium's" said Soibelman. "I improvise most of the texts on stage. Just like they do it in jazz, when Louis Armstrong suddenly begins saying something. Our music subconsciously геflect the ethnic traditions of the Eastern Slavic nations-with their gypsies, jews and restaurant culture.

They have indeed drawn on ahuge range of musical roots. The song She-e-e was the culmination of their pop mechanics, wirh Soibeelman parodying the aesthetics of the mass Soviet estrada, looking like a provincial Frank Zappa with a Jesus Christ complex in his eyes. Other songs, Nosorogi (Rhinos), and Bossanova, a mixture of bossamucha, funeral march and sabre dance, were more than just tasteful parody -instead, they became a unique kind of Russian musical wizardry.

Вy the early 1990s, Ne Zhdali were looking like surreal newcomers from a rock outer-space, especially when seen in the contest of other Russian groups playing outdated music. "What happens to us tomorrow will depend on what comes from within us," said Soybelman. "Currently we do all can to live by today."

Bu Soibelman's departure caught every-body by surprise, meaning death for Ne Zhdali. No one believed that the legend could mterialize аgain.

The miracle, however. did happen. During the three years which he spent shuttling between Israel and Holland, Soybelman created a new program. Its fragments were passed back to the group's other musicians in Tallinn, who developed and arranged the new ideas.

And then in spring 1993. Ne Zhdali's leader unexpectedly returned to Estonia to record a new album, in April, they once again played Moscow, attracting a small crowd of 30 spectators many of whom agreed that they attended the best show in rhe past few years.

Once again, the unexpected has happened, and Ne Zhdali are alive and kicking, playing their unique style of music. Don't miss the miracle, come taste the band.

By Alexander Kushnir