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Guide to Russia > Russian Culture

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RUSSIAN ROCK AND UNDERGROUND

The most comprehensive guide to Russian rock and underground on the Web.


► KINO


KINO was a major player in the Russian rock movement. They started making music in the 1980s under the name of GARIN AND GIPERBOLOIDY. Once the ball started rolling the creative tandem of Viktor Tsoi and Aleksey Rybin changed the band's name to KINO. KINO was also approved by the Leningradsky Rock Club and regularly preformed at their festivals. In the mid 1980s, they recorded the first album, called "45", and over the years created a total discography of 8 albums.

KINO were very popular among younger generations. Their leader, Viktor Tsoi, was a romantic hero, who was brave enough to speak up about Soviet prejudices vocally and aggressively. Thus he was loved and respected; thousands of people followed him and his political beliefs, especially teens and younger adults.

Despite all the love and popularity Tsoi had, he didn't lead a comfortable life. He had to work in a stock-hole, which was a very difficult job, but it did give him the opportunity to do some creative work in his spare time. The stock-hole was named "Kamchatka" and became a legend due to Tsoi's reign in the workforce as well as other musicians who worked there. During his years at Kamchatka, Tsoi recorded his most outstanding album - "Gruppa Krovi" (Blood Group).

Viktor Tsoi was also involved in many film projects as both an actor and a music composer. Each of these movies had something to do with rock music, but it wasn't always apparent. Such movies include "Igla", "Rock" and "ASSA". His songs were often used as soundtracks to these movies. The movie business contributed to the popularity of KINO the band and gave the youth of Soviet Russia more ways to get involved with the Rock movement. By 1990 they managed to draw huge crowds and filled large concert halls and stadiums in Moscow with adoring fans. These concerts caused quite a stir and were turning points in the history of rock music at that period. It's important not to forget that such bands as ALISA also sold out the same concert halls and had just as big of an impact. But the lyrical image of Victor Tsoi singing about "expecting changes" was such a fascinating topic and something that young Russians, hoping for political change, could relate to.

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Unfortunately, Tsoi was not as musically talented as others in the music business and, when he eventually got to the big stage, his shortcomings became obvious. But the poetic lyrics he wrote were respected and relatable to everyone, and his music wasn't too complicated - his way of expressing himself was straightforward and brave, which resulted in his immense popularity amongst rock fans.

In August of 1990, Viktor Tsoi tragically died in a car accident. The very next day on Arbat Street in Moscow a wall dedicated to Tsoi had appeared. This memorial site allowed his fans and followers to pay their respects and express their gratitude for everything the musician did for rock music.

Viktor Tsoi was buried in St. Petersburg in Bogoslovskoye Cemetery. Many of his followers went as far as camping by his grave-site for days, sometimes even weeks, to express their devotion to the man. Even now his grave is always decorated with candles and flowers. People leave lighters and cigarettes (in reference and memory of one of Tsoi's greatest songs - "Pachka Sigret" ("Cigarette Pack"). During his lifetime, Tsoi was married to a girl named Maryana and together they had a son named Sasha. In 2001 under the inspirational leadership of Maryana Tsoi, a big musical project named "Kinoprobi", was released. It was dedicated to the memory of Viktor. All the songs were covers of KINO's original songs and performed by over 30 modern Russian musicians.


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