Czego słuchają w Ukrainie, Rosji i Białorusi, czyli przegląd wschodniej sceny muzycznej

Popsa – Eastern Europe’s sexiest music genre

In the Ukrainian night clubs, Russian buses and Belarusian shopping malls you can hear lively rhythm of popsa, Eastern Europe’s most popular music genre (usually songs are in Russian, more seldom in Ukrainian or Belarusian). Every second popsa hit is accompanied with the music movie where Slavic beauties are showing their sexy bodies and dancing in the way that none of the American pop stars do. Take a look on the most famous Eastern Europe’s female musicians.

Popsa is Soviet answer for the American pop music from 80. When MTV has started an era of music videos , some  USSR singers decided to adapt sexy moves of Madonna to the Soviet realties. Looking at current videos of Russian female band Serebro or Ukrainian band Nikita one can said that popsa has reached its nirvana  – a state of an eternal negligee where you can’t take off anything more. Another important feature of popsa is language different than English. For Russian speaking audience popsa is sung mostly in Russian, however sometimes you may hear local pop artists singing in Ukrainian or Belarussian. Nevertheless, Russian lyrics allow to make simultaneous career in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Popsa doesn’t accept sentiments, business is business.

When I firstly heard popsa, I compared it to the Polish disco polo, which I thought is a local, rather embarrassing phenomenon. Well, it’s not. Similarly to disco polo, Russian popsa has easy lyrics and music videos loaded with sex to the limit. What surprised me most was that all that stuff is taken seriously.. And you know what? I liked it.

Nowadays I like humming some popsa in order to learn language, moreover I am fascinated with the sociological dimension of this phenomenon – the most popular bands consist of girls and almost all music videos present woman only as a sex(ual) objects. It perfectly fits to the patriarchal model of Eastern Europe and Russia, in which a man coming back from work can lay on sofa while his woman is preparing dinner for him, washing his clothes and taking care about children (of course she has been working same hours as him; today in Kyiv or Moscow nobody can live from one salary), and finally she has to take care about herself or at least get closer to the popsa singer model. Fortunately, there are appearing more artists playing with popsa kitsch and stereotypes.

My TOP 10 of popsa songs

Серебро (Serebro)
Female trio from Russia was established for the purpose of the Eurovison 2007. It won not only place on the podium but emerged as rising stars of popsa and nowadays is one of the most famous Russian bands. Girls emanate sexuality at (almost?) every music video. I have to pay my respects to them, as during my first time in night club in Kharkov their song Malo tebia (literally not enough of you) laid in my memory so deeply that I was crooning it on the next morning.

Бьянка (Bianka)

Belarusian singer Bianka reminds me American pop star Rihanna. According to popsa canons Bianka bravely shows her body, even so bravely that TVs must censor her music videos. What differentiate Bianka from other stars? She got a degree in music, performed as a solo artist in Belarusian orchestra and till nowadays uses folk motives in her music.

Натали (Natali)
One of the legends of Russian music stage –  she has been performing for two decades. Her songs can be heard everywhere in the Russian speaking part of the world. Her last hit is О Боже, какой мужчина! (eng. Oh my God, what a man!). Though she has a lot of sex appeal, her music movies radiate neither nakedness nor sexual subtexts.

Female trio from Kyiv seized Internet after the music movie Verevki (eng. Lines) in which singers walk through supermarket fully naked. Scandal has immediately brought attention of the audience but girls didn’t stop with just one prank. They released another licentious movie, this time titled “Avocado”. Second one made a certain career even behind the borders of Ukraine.

Two sisters Ksenia and Alisa created a duo known as KAMON!!! in 2007 in Kiev. Soon after they recorded their first hit “Kably” (eng. Heels). In accordance to popsa trend Ukrainians were dressed in tight leather clothing and wrote a simple (don’t mix with vulgar) lyrics about  night club what made their song a perfect example of that music genre. So perfect that it proved itself both as a hit club and a diagnosis of Russian music market.

Вера Брежнева (Viera Brezhnieva)

Ukrainian blond beauty who started her career in the most stunning pop band Via Gra.. After four years of singing with the band Vera started her solo career and still goes on. Popularity of Via Gra was driven not only by the fact that their songs fit well into mainstream popsa but also intelligently mingle with it. Vera definitely runs away from being stereotypical sex-bomb replacing music with her boobs.

ВИА ГРА (Via Gra)

Legendary Ukrainian band that made a great career in all countries which fond of popsa. Over the decade since the creation of the band its squad has been constantly changing. Traditionally girls are extremely beautiful but in comparison to other popular bands they don’t rely only on their sex appeal. For example in the music movie “У меня появился другой” (eng. I’ve got another man) girls are singing that their credo is carpe diem and they don’t want to fit into patriarchal family model moving between work, kitchen and washing machine.

Ані Лорак (Ani Lorak)
Ani Lorak is an anagram from the name Karolina. Originally Karolina Kujek. Ukrainian singer who started her career in young age and systematically releases hit by the hit. Surprisingly instead of the body she sells her voice and offstage is involved in fight against HIV. She was appointed United Nations ambassador for preventing the virus (Ukraine is the country with most HIV-infected population in Europe).

Пающіє труси (Pajuszije Trusy, eng. Singing underpants)
Even the name of the band indicates that music project supposed to be a prank. The best proof is the fact that one of their most successful song was “Plastic surgeon” in which band was laughing from beautified pop singers.

Тіна Кароль (Tina Karol)
Though she was born at the end of the world in the Magadan circuit in Russia, in her early childhood moved to Ivano-Frankivsk and till today seems to be a real Ukrainian. She is actively engaged in politics (supported Julia Tymoshenko’s party in 2010) and fight against HIV. In 2009 Ukrainian magazine Focus classified her as one of the most influential women in Ukraine. Pretty serious award for pop singer. Though she performs mainstream music, she tries to avoid stereotypical popsa lyrics and videos. That’s good.

Translated by Alyona Kononenko