November 09, 2004

Banned In Belarus: Drum Ecstasy

Drum Ecstasy are one of the stars of the underground music scene in Belarus. A quartet of 3 drummers and 1 bassplayer who play propulsive polyrhythmic anthems bedded in dark, sub-industrial low-end smear; they have been a fixture on the club scene for a number of years and have even been courted by corporations wanting “edgy” music to accompany big product launches. Their website has a good selection of mp3s for you to download, including these two standout tracks, Nails and Empire...

On July 21 this year, they were one of seven local bands who performed at an opposition-sponsored concert in Minsk to commemorate/protest 10 years of despotic rule by Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko was originally elected by a legitimate landslide for a four year term back in 1994, but since then he has used dodgy referenda and rigged elections to extend his tenure indefinitely. And anyone who has tried to oppose him has been ruthlessly “silenced” – as the bands at the 21/7 concert quickly discovered.

Although they did not suffer the fate of official opposition figures who have been detained or “disappeared”, all future performances by them were banned and their music was removed from Belarusian radio playlists. In response, the musicians released this open letter in September and are encouraging anyone who is concerned about this reprehensible act of censorship to send an email to For more information (and regular updates) on the situation in Belarus, visit the Charter ’97 site. And for a good journalistic overview, check out this article from Russian independent newspaper, Kommersant.

Posted by Warren at November 9, 2004 09:50 PM | Censorship