Friday sees the climax to this year’s Belarusian national selection and 12 entries will compete for the ticket to Rotterdam. One song that caught the attention of many during the audition stage was the three piece vocal group CHAKRAS with the mysterious, ethereal song ‘La-Ley-La’.
We spoke with the writer of the song Max Aleinikov about who the members of the group are, how the song came to be written and the incredible message of the song itself.
Hi Max, congratulations on the success of CHAKRAS reaching the Belarus National Final. Can you tell us how you met CHAKRAS and ended up writing for them, could you also tell us a little about the members of the group and how they formed the group?
All of us were gathered and united by music. I’ve been searching for vocalists who would be able to implement this project. I mean, this song is special for me, so, the people also have to be special. I’ve been listening, I’ve made many attempts, but for a long time there was always something that I didn’t agree with, and I understood that I need not rush, because everything is good in its season. And now that time has come.
I have a team of like-minded soulmates and professionals with a big “P”. Each member of our group is a diamond in their own way and deserves special attention.
Olga Drozdova – co-producer of the project, is the best vocal producer in Belarus, she is my old friend to whom I’ve been referring almost from the beginning of my career every time when I needed to have interesting sound and music result.
Julia Yanochkina – a stunningly melodious performer, purely sensitive to art. I’d like to mention that Olga Drozdova and Julia Yanochkina are founders and owners of a music studio for children “Studio Play”. They are those very teachers, whose pupils and alumni have been representing our country in Junior Eurovision Song Contest for 4 years in a row (Ruslan Aslanov, Helena Meraai, Daniel Yastremski, Liza Misnikova), as well as in various international music contests. They are very keen on their work, music is an inseparable part of their lives. And I’m glad that in our project Julia fulfills her potential as a singer.
Svetlana Kaufman – a professional opera singer with a unique voice quality and manner of singing.
Olga Grigorieva – a vocalist with a strong authentic and distinctive voice, she is also a vocal teacher, and besides her career as a singer, she communicates her knowledge and experience to children.
And as for our wonderful Olena UUTAI – she’s a recognized worldwide ethno-musician, master of throat singing, singer, composer, author of neo-shamanistic practices from Yakutia. All our vocalists have a demiurgical women nature, all of them are mothers. And mother always stands for bringing miracle to this life and unconditional love.
Tell us a bit about your own background. How long have you been songwriting and how many previous songs have you sent to Eurovision selections?
I’ve been practicing music since I was 5 years old, music is all my life. I could hardly remember any moment when music wasn’t there. Since early childhood I’ve been learning from the best teachers and studying in the best educational institutions of Belarus. I’m a pianist, and my artistic path started from classical music. I started to write my first works when I was seven. When I reached thirteen, I was already a fully-fledged composer with a quite well-shaped artistic view. At this age I started to work and study in a sound-recording studio, learning how songs are created, exploring the mastership of arranging and mixing music. I was so inspired by this process that I went away from classical music. I’m safe to say that I became one of the most in-demand hit-makers of my country. There were also some major production projects in my career.
La-Ley-La is a piece that emerged two years ago. This is my creation that has been waiting for its right moment to be presented to the audience. I didn’t write this music specially for the Eurovision contest. The history of its creation is very touching and significant. There was a period in my life, when I wasn’t writing anything for quite a long time. All previous concepts of art outlived itself, and nothing new could be seen. This is a quite painful state for the artistic person. It’s like a zero point. So, one day I was looking through photos of animals from an animal shelter who needed a home. And, as it often happens, I saw a photo of a cat that I felt I wanted to bring home immediately that day, which I actually did. When I came home from the animal shelter with my new cat-friend, I wrote La-Ley-La literarily in a single burst. Music without a text in it, music that is different from everything I did before, music that filled me. I named my cat Chakra. It’s a creature that brought warmth and love to my life.
A couple of months later I got into a horrible accident, it’s a miracle that I managed to survive. The car that I was driving was a total loss. Everybody, who knew the details of this accident, were saying that it’s mystics. Under any laws I had to simply die, but instead I wasn’t even hurt. The next day after this accident my cat Chakra tragically passed away. I was going through this loss for a long time and very deep inside me. La-Ley-La is a dedication to my cat, my teacher that gave me love and saved me from a terrible disaster at the cost of its life.
The song ‘La-ley-la’ has gained a lot of attention around Europe already with the incredible vocals and the ethereal quality about it. What is meaning behind the songs lyrics and can you tell us about what the vision is behind CHAKRAS’s staging?
This music has no words. Nowadays a word starts to lose its power. And it can be easily seen by simply looking around. Everybody just talks and allows themselves to talk a lot, but they don’t make any actions. Talking, simply for the purpose of talking, disputes, scandals. And the worst thing is that people have forgot, how to listen to each other! We on the contrary wish to bring something that would be clear to everybody, every nation. Something that would make people look into themselves and listen to their hearts.
There’s a legend about the tower of Babel, according to which there was a Noah’s Flood after which all people were speaking one language, being in unity of understanding. But once, they decided to unite their forces and arrogantly try to “reach” the Place of Authentic Source, people started to build the highest tower on Earth which top could be seen from the Sky. Construction works were stopped by God himself. He made people speak different languages again. They stopped to understand each other and wandered off different parts of the world. “Spawls” of this language dispersed into creative features of people’s souls. Since then on, art opens people’s hearts to the beauty of the world, leaving no need to play words in order to explain feelings.
Music is a universal language for everybody – it’s our tower of Babel. We’ve made a very beautiful and deep music video which will be presented in a short time. The video was directed by Maksim Litvinov who made a music video for the incredible Ukrainian winner of Eurovision, Jamala. Together with his team he makes stage design and costumes for us.
How did you and CHAKRAS feel when it was announced you had made the final 12?
It was just the first milestone on quite a long distance. We’re excited to see that our work resonated people’s hearts. This gives us strength to move on
And what are all of your expectations for the final? What would it mean to you and CHAKRAS to win the final and to go to Rotterdam in May on behalf on the country of Belarus?
I believe in our victory in this contest. I think, if you don’t set such goals, there’s no sense in participating there.
Thank you Max and we’d like to wish you and CHAKRAS all the best of luck on 28th February!
Is CHAKRAS your choice to go to Rotterdam? Let us know on our Belarus national final poll below!