Kyiv organiser says Laibach "misunderstands reasons for our war"
The organiser of the cancelled Kyiv concert by Laibach have rejected the Slovenian band's view it had been expected to categorically denounce all Russian art in order to perform what would be the first major performance by a foreign band in Kyiv since the start of the war. Laibach acknowledged this had not been demanded explicitly, but said its stated appreciation of some Russian artists had been noted among the reasons for the cancellation.
Elaborating on the reasons for the cancellation of the concert planned for 31 March and commenting on Laibach's response, the Bel Etage Music Hall from Kyiv wrote on 28 February that "the concert was cancelled due to the protest of Ukrainians against the arrival of Laibach, which was caused by the band's misunderstanding of the reasons for our war".
The organiser rejected the view that it demanded of Laibach to dismiss all Russian art as worthless as a lie, saying the kept correspondence proved that.
"After their appeal to the Ukrainians, in which a whole paragraph is devoted to Russian art, no one demanded anything from them," the organiser says.
"The fact that everything Russian is toxic for us was mentioned in the letter cancelling the concert. That is, no one demanded anything," the organiser explained, adding the audience considered Laibach's stance on the war - the band framed it as a geopolitical conflict between Russia and the US on Ukrainian territory - as pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian.
Meanwhile, Laibach explained for the STA on 28 February that the demand for the band to explicitly state that all Russians are bad and that all Russian art is worthless had not been made explicitly by the organiser.
However, Laibach added that its appreciation of some Russian artists had been highlighted by the organiser as one of the reasons for the cancellation.
"Immediately after the concert was officially announced...there was an uproar on social media about some of our statements and interpretations about the possible causes of the Ukraine-Russia war, which are not fully in line with the Ukrainian view of things, so the promoter asked for our official statement that we unreservedly support Ukraine in this war," the world-renowned band wrote.
"We issued this statement, while adding that this does not mean that we hate everything Russian, and that we still appreciate some Russian artists," Laibach wrote.
"Not to be mistaken - we love Russian literature, music and art. We love Dostoyevsky, Bulgakov, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Mayakovsky, Tatlin, Rodchenko and El Lissitzky - to name but a few - and we always will. But in this senseless war between Russia and Ukraine, we are wholeheartedly on the side of Ukraine and its people...," reads part of Laibach's statement posted two days before Sunday's cancellation.
The band added that the organiser had said the concert needed to be cancelled because the statement had not been formulated in the right way and caused additional uproar. The organiser said the statement that the band supported Ukraine in the war but did not reject Russian art had not been accepted well, Laibach said.
The band quotes the organiser as saying that for the Ukrainians everything Russian is toxic now, Russian literature is evil, the Russian language is evil, everything Russian only causes hatred. While the band did not seem to be aware of this, its statements have caused a lot of indignation, the organiser reportedly added.
"And that was also one of the reasons why the concert was cancelled," Laibach said.