Ne Zhdali - sześcioosobowy zespół z Estonii, założony w 1987 roku w Tallinie. Ich muzyka to połączenie różnych osobowości, gustów muzycznych i inspiracji. Za każdym razem słuchacz ma do czynienia z zaskakującą i przewrotną mieszanką rocka, awangardy i folku. Od początku charakteryzowali się oryginalnym i świeżym podejściem do muzyki, zapewniając sobie solidną pozycję na scenie niezależnej w Związku Radzieckim. W 1989 roku zaprezentowali się po raz pierwszy na Zachodzie, w 1990 roku w Holandii nagrali swój pierwszy album "Rhinoceroses And Other Forms Of Life". Od tego czasu nagrali kilka udanych płyt, występowali w ponad 15 krajach Europy, Kanadzie i Japonii, zawsze przyjmowani z wielką przychylnością.
Hailing from Tallin, Estonia, Ne Zhdali was one of the most exciting rock bands to rise from the soviet underground following the fall of the Communist regime. Blending punk energy with the complexity of true progressive rock (think Henry Cow), occasional funk rhythms and Balkanese folk melodies, the sextet displayed tremendous amounts of energy on stage. It released a handful of albums during its first decade and launched the career of its leader Leonid Soybelman, who went on to become an important figure in European avant-rock.
Soybelman (guitar, vocals), Ilja Komarov (bass), and Andrei Kulagin (aka "Bitty" or Victor Bitlovsky, vocals, keyboards, euphonium) started to play together in high school After the guitarist's two years in the Russian army, they teamed up with drummer Vitali Redchits, trombonist Oleg Davidovitch, trumpeter Veeremaa Vadim, and keyboardist Avi Nedzvetsky. Soybelman was involved in the Russian Drama Theater, a group of multidisciplinary artists based in Tallin. The troupe needed a house band and thus in February 1987 Ne Zhdali came to life. The name means "Unexpected" and comes from the title of a 19th painting by Ilya Repin.
From the start Ne Zhdali built a wild stage show, its virtuoso rhythm section and eccentric brass section framing Soybelman's punkish vocal delivery and guitar playing. The first concert took place in November 1987 and soon the group was playing rock festivals around USSR (Gorbatchev's perestroika was in full motion). A rising popularity led to a permission in 1989 to go West, more precisely to Amsterdam to record the debut LP Rhinoceroses and Other Forms of Life, released on ADM (Netherlands) in 1990.
The fall of the Communists and Estonia's subsequent declaration of independence left many citizens, including Ne Zhdali members, in citizenship limbo, which made touring very difficult. Tired of the situation Soybelman emigrated to Israel and eventually moved to Switzerland. After a few months of uncertainty (during which the other members released She-Ye-Ye, a collection of material from 1989, and Nedzvetsky quit) the group resumed its activities, touring Europe and recording Hey, Driver, Cool Down the Horses!!!, released simultaneously in Russia (by Feelee) and Europe (by RecRec). The group appeared at the MIMI festival in 1994. Whatever Happens, Twist! came out a year later and marked the group's artistic peak. Appearances at Musique Action (France), the Moers New Jazz festival (Germany), and the Victoriaville FIMAV festival (Canada, the group's only visit in America) expanded the group's fanbase, but the flame was already dying. Growing tired of the format, Soybelman had other ideas. A "collaboration camp" with Amy Denio's Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet yielded the CD Pollo d'Oro on which the group explores freer grounds. The guitarist's new group Kletka Red released its debut Hijacking in 1997.
Ne Zhdali continues to perform regularly, but besides archival material, live recordings and reissues, there hasn't been a new album in the works since 1996. Soybelman has a fruitful solo career, Komarov leads the group Les Halmas. Kulagin, Davidovitch, and Redchits formed the R&B group BBX. (François Couture)