A star called the sun

Have you ever thought that most songs are about love and heartbreak? Did you ever want to listen to songs written for a much greater purpose? No wonder you have; life can’t be that simple.

This story is about one of the best Soviet rock bands. They were one of the best rock bands of all time, if not the best. And were known as ‘Kino.’

Kino is a Soviet rock band that was formed in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1982 and started by Viktor Tsoi (vocals, guitar) and Aleksei Rybin (bass guitar), who were schoolmates.

In the early years, they used to play at Leningrad Rock Club, which was the first legal rock club in Leningrad; however, most of the performances were underground. In 1982, Kino released their debut album named ’45’. Since the band was not popular at the time, the album was not a huge success. Their first album dealt with themes such as love, loneliness, and the search for personal freedom.

After their debut album, the band released more successful albums, including “Gruppa Krovi” (“Blood Type”) and “Nachalnik Kamchatki” (“The Head of Kamchatka”).

In the latter albums, Kino often addressed social and cultural issues that were relevant to life in the Soviet Union. Especially Gruppa Krovi ( ‘Blood Type’) album, which was the most politically charged album, addressed lots of social, political, and economic issues that were compelling the economy; hence, addressing love was confined to just one or two sentences. Despite not writing about love, the controversial album quickly rose in fame among Russian youth. Tsoi was made a hero and the album was translated into native languages in different cultures.

A Song Without Words

Once a journalist asked Victor Tsoi,

“Victor Tsoi, your song lyrics have captivated the hearts of many people. I’m curious, how do you come up with such powerful and thought-provoking words? How are you able to write those lyrics?”

And Tsoi replied,

“Well, I believe that inspiration can come from various sources. For me, it’s a combination of personal experiences, observations of the world around me, and the emotions that resonate within. I try to capture those feelings and ideas in my lyrics.”

As Tsoi said, those social experiences and issues were written as songs, and people, especially the young generation, debarred the songs since the addressed issues were most common to the people of Soviet, thus being relatable for them and giving feel some personalization.

For example:

Gruppa Krovi ” (“blood type”): was about the Soviet Afghan war and how a young soldier feels.

“Khram” (“The Temple”): This song by Kino touches upon the theme of spirituality and the search for meaning in life. It explores existential questions and the desire for solace or guidance in a higher power or purpose.

“Zvezda po Imeni Solntse” (“A Star Called the Sun”): This song reflects on the nature of fame and stardom. It explores the complexities of being in the spotlight and the impact it can have on one’s personal life and relationships.

Through the songs written, Kino shaped the future of the Soviet Union and implanted the ideas of activism and freedom in the hearts of the youth. Those impacts were not only due to the overtly politicized lyrics and songs but also through the emotionally charged lyrics for the young generations.

Quiet Night

On August 15, 1990, Victor Tsoi died in a car collision while he was driving at midnight. Thus, putting an end to the Kino. After Tsoi’s death, Kino was disbanded. Even though Tsoi was unable to see the world he and millions of Soviet citizens wished to see, his creations marked the beginning of a new era of freedom.

Mama, we’ve all gone crazy

Even after two decades, Kino is still popular in Russia and still continues to inspire people today. The songs written two decades ago are still valid to current events happening in Russia. In 2021, members of Kino played their instruments to the recorded voice of long Victor Tsoi.

The summer is ending

In the end, Kino’s journey may have been cut short, but their impact on the Soviet music scene and the hearts of millions endures. Their songs, filled with social relevance and emotional depth, ignited a spark of activism and awakened a generation hungry for change. The legacy of Kino and the poetic words of Viktor Tsoi continue to resonate, reminding us that music has the power to transcend time, touch our souls, and inspire us to strive for a better world. As long as their melodies play and their lyrics echo, Kino, will forever be etched in the annals of Russian rock history, a beacon of artistic freedom and a testament to the enduring power of music.


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