Belarusian Rabbits Rock

I don’t remember if anything “made in Belarus” has ever attracted that much attention in the country and via Internet also in Russia and Ukraine. A song written by a 12-year-old Yury Demidovich about a magic rabbit is forwarded around, discussed at forums, downloaded as mp3 and a ring tone. The boy has several fan clubs and a community in livejournal.

I loved his performance at the Belarusian semifinal for the Junior Eurovision – song contest for kids. Boys and girls from Belarus have won it several times – with nice songs for kids and well rehearsed performances. But Yury’s song is really extraordinary and very original.

The Magic Rabbit starts as rap (He lives in a thick forest and composes poems. Who is he!? Who is he!? The Magic Rabbit! The Magic Rabbit!) and goes on as an opera in meaningless Latin (Etis Atis Animatis Etis Atis Amatis). His mates from the choir help him: they go on their knees to shake the heads, they jump and spin.. The ensemble is so natural, so real, so genuine. It’s 100 percent, pure, positive emotion. I’ve never enjoyed anything that much for years.

Of course, it’s being discussed if the kids are drugged and what kind of heavy drugs could cause such an effect, if their choirmaster is a satanist, a mason or just a goth. It’s a joking mater, everything. Anyhow this song is an issue, it’s a hit. Right, according to Warhol, everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame. But it has never been a case with a Belarusian song or book!

Belarusian cultural life is rather a still-life. The pop part of it is supported by the authorities or at least not hindered in its development. The rest: uncontrollable as all art, incomprehensible and weird, unconventional and experimental is too marginal and difficult to find. Especially in Belarusian language. It’s unusual if a foreign ambassador speaks Belarusian – but nobody wonders as he introduces the days of his country and advertises not only his country but asks Belarusians to take interest in their own culture and art, insisting that they are worth it. Everyone understands why he says this.

I do hope that it’s no accident that all of a sudden Yura is so popular. Although I don’t really believe Belarus will have the courage to send Yura and his song to Junior Eurovision.

There’s another sign of hope is that this week we got a new Minister of Culture.  Pavel Latushka is 36, mass media already dubbed him as the first Belarusian speaking minister. Time will show if magic rabbits can be bred in Belarus.

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