Vopli Vidopliassova

Vopli Vidopliassova (Воплі Відоплясова) is a critically acclaimed Ukrainian rock band from Kyiv. Formed in 1986, the band’s unique blend of punk, folk, jazz, rock, and ska with traditional Ukrainian elements has won them international renown. To date, the band has toured extensively throughout much of the former Soviet Union, much of Western Europe, Israel, and parts of the US and Canada, thrilling audiences with their energetic live performances. Although the group’s style has evolved significantly over the years—incorporating more refined ballads and a wider musical palette—the gritty punk bombast of the band’s early compositions is still evident in their work. In 2013, Vopli Vidopliassova released their tenth studio album, Wonderful World (Чудовий Світ).

The name Vopli Vidopliassova, which translates to “The Screams of Vidopliassov,” was suggested to the group by their original bassist, Oleksandr Pipa (Олександр Піпа), an avid fan of the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Pipa’s innovation references the turmoil of the schizophrenic character Grigori Vidopliassov from the novel The Village of Stepanchikovo (Село Степанчиково и его обитатели).

The band’s original lineup was composed of largely untrained musicians—the frontman, Oleg Skripka (Олег Скрипка), for instance, had a degree in engineering from Kiev’s Polytechnic Institute, and the guitarist, Yuriy Zdorenko (Юрій Здоренко), was employed as a plumber. Nevertheless, the group’s first public appearance in 1987 at the Kyiv Rock Club Festival earned them immediate acclaim, with awards for Group of the Year and Song of the Year, for their track “Yaroslavna’s Lament” (“Плач Ярославни”). But it would be their single “Dances” (“Танцi”) that would garner the band attention outside their native Ukraine. Concerts in Vilnius, Moscow, Warsaw, and Leningrad quickly followed suit. And in 1990 the band embarked on a European tour, discovering a surprisingly enthusiastic fanbase in France. Volpi Vidopliassova’s first long-form release occurred during this time, a collection of live performances from their French shows called Abo-Abo (Або-Aбо).

Due in part to the positive French reception, both Skripka and Pipa would move to France in 1991. Despite the move, the band remained active. They released three more albums in the following three years, including their first studio album, Dreamland (Країна Мрій), in 1994. In 1996, they both returned to Kiev.

The reconstitution of the band in 1996 began a period of prolific output and increasing professional reward. In 1997, the band signed a multi-album deal with the label SBA/GALA; their record Music (Музіка) took an unexpected trip with Ukraine’s first cosmonaut, Leonid Kadenyuk (Леонід Каденюк), into space; and the group was awarded three Golden Firebird Awards (Золоті Жар-Птиці) at the Tavria Games Festival.

Recent years have been similarly kind to Volpi Vidopliassova, with the band winning five awards at the Yula Music Awards in 2012. In 2016, in a show of commitment to the cause of a united Ukraine centered in Kyiv, the group conducted a speaking tour among Ukrainian soldiers stationed along potential conflict points.

Find Vopli Vidopliassova on Amazon

 

The video for the band’s early hit, “Dances” (“Танцi”:

 

The lyrics for “Танцi”:

Лягає день.
Він віддає свої надії ночі.
Робітники
Заморились працювати.
Там вогні,
Яскраві блищуть лампи.
Приходьте, люди, на вечір у клуб,
Там будуть танці.
Там, там танці.
Та-та-та, танці.
Танці.

Ми вспомінаєм цілий тиждень.
Багато є балачок та думок.
Ждемо коли прийде добра неділя.
Танцзал запрошує нас.
У клубі були любі танці.
Та-та танці.
Веселі, бодрі, добрі танці.
Ла-ла-ла танці, танці.
Та-та-та танці, танці, ла-ла-ла
Та-та-та танці, танці, ла-ла-ла.
Оп, оп.

 

The video for the song “Sich Archers” (“Січові стрільці”), from their most recent album:

 

Lyrics for “Січові стрільці”:

Йде січове військо,
Та й співає стиха.
– Як поборем воріженьків –
Не буде в нас лиха!

Йде січове військо
В боротьбу криваву.
– Як поборем воріженьків –
Здобудемо славу!

Йде січове військо,
Пісня степом, степом лине.
– Як поборем воріженьків –
Слава не загине!

 

Find Vopli Vidopliassova on Amazon

Michael Filitis is a recent MA graduate from the University of Chicago where he concentrated on early Soviet nationalities policy, propaganda, and the rise of nationalism in Eastern Europe. A recipient of SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship his current focus is the improvement of his Russian language skills with the goal of pursuing a Phd in Russian history and political science. Outside of academia, he enjoys playing and composing music, eating to excess, movies about space, and contemplating a more active lifestyle.