NRM

N.R.M. (it stands for Незалежная Рэспубліка Мроя, or Independent Republic of Mroya—the group writes the initials in the Roman alphabet) is a Belarusian rock group. They sing almost exclusively in Belarusian (as opposed to Russian).

The group was founded in 1994 as a continuation of legendary Belarusian rock group Mroya (Мроя; Belarusian for “dream”), in an attempt to distance themselves from their old sound. Mroya was active from 1981 to 1994 and released several albums unofficially. They weren’t quite as underground as some Russian bands from the period, but they did play (and behave) in the underground-Russian-rock style, taking Mashina Vremeni as one of their examples.

The change in name turned out well, as N.R.M. has been one of the most popular post-Soviet rock group in Belarus. N.R.M.’s original members were Lyavon Volski (Лявон Вольскі—rhythm guitar and vocals), Pit Paulau (Піт Паўлаў—solo guitar and back vocals), Aleg Dzemidovich (Алег Дземідовіч, percussion), and Yuras Lyaukoy (Юрась Ляўкоў—bass guitar); all except Volski are still in the group, which currently consists of only three members. Volski now works mainly with Krambambula (Крамбамбуля), which he started as a side project in 2001 and which is now majorly popular in Belarus.

The group released 11 albums starting in 1995; D.P.B.Ch. (Д.П.Б.Ч.), from 2013, is their most recent, and the only one recorded after Volski’s departure. Their highlight is the album Citizen Passport of the N.R.M. (Пашпарт грамадзяніна N.R.M.), from 1998: it’s a particular favorite among nationally oriented Belarusian youth.

Speaking of which, N.R.M. was actually on an unofficial government blacklist for several years in the mid-2000s, meaning that they couldn’t perform concerts or be aired on the radio. The ban was politically motivated, as it is well known that the group members oppose Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenka (Аляксандр Лукашэнка).

 

“Three Turtles” (“Тры чарапахi”), one of N.R.M.’s most popular songs, 2000:

 

Lyrics for “Тры чарапахi”:

Калi раптам адчуеш камунальныя пахi
I жыццё цябе возьме ў пятлю,
Зразумееш тады, што тры чарапахi
Па-ранейшаму цягнуць зямлю.

Калi выйдзеш у горад цi залезеш у горы,
I з людзьмi усталюеш кантакт,
Зразумееш тады, што i сёння, i ўчора
Наша месца на трох кiтах.

Прыпеў:
Хэй ла-ла-ла-лай,
Ты не чакай, сюрпрызаў не будзе.
Хэй ла-ла-ла-лай,
Ты не чакай, ты не чакай.

Не было Галiлея i Боба Марлея,
Не было Сальвадора Далi.
Нi Ленiна, нi Ленана, нi Карла Лiнэя,
А кіты і чарапахi былi.

Прыпеў.

Каб любiць Беларусь, нашу мiлую маму,
Трэба ў розных краях пабываць.
Зразумееш тады — пад тваiмi нагамi
Тры сланы нерухома стаяць.

Прыпеў (некалькі разоў).

Хэй ла-ла-ла-лай,
Ты не чакай, сюрпрызаў не будзе.
Хэй ла-ла-ла-лай,
Нiхто не чакае, i ты не чакай!

 

The first few tracks from D.P.B.Ch. (Д.П.Б.Ч.), the group’s 2013 album—“Мроя мая,” “Хрусць і папалам,” “Нэктар,” “На далоні”

 

Lyrics for “Мроя мая”:

Калі сьцены сьціскаюць у пустым пакоі
І тэлеэкран паралізуе волю
За гарамі за пушчый за сінім полем
Я прымроіў сабе Краіну Мрою

Настальгія ці параноя
Я сябе з сабой параўноўваю

А-а-гу-у Мроя мая,
Ці гэта ты здейсненая

Калі сетку дажджу разарве маланка
І святло ліхтару праз фіранку
Там на чорнай шашы нечакана фары
Там сям’я там сябры там мае гітары
Настальгія ці параноя
Я сябе з сабой параўноўваю

Сьцены сьцены сціскаюць у пустым пакоі
Але ж я прымроіў Краіну Мрою
Настальгія ці параноя
Я сябе з сабой параўноўваю
Настальгія – параноя

А-а-гу-у Мроя мая,
Ці гэта ты, здейсненая

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.