Pisni Iz The Smiths EP - Orange Vinyl - 19th April 2013
- Batyar (Bigmouth Strikes Again) ()
- Koroleva Ne Pomerla (The Queen is Dead) ()
- M'yaso - Ubivstvo (Meat is Murder) ()
- Spivaye Solovey (What Difference Does It Make?) ()
Zirka Records 037CD13
Koka Records 037CD13
Zirka Records ZRKCD4
Zirka Records ZRKCD3
Omnium OMM 2028
Zirka Records ZRKCD1
Blue Records Shade 006
No longer available, 10-inch vinyl only.
Cooking Vinyl Records COOK CD 054
The Ukrainians' first single, Oi Divchino, became an NME Single of the Week in August 1991. The review described how the track builds up to a "strange instrument frenzy" and that it sounds like "The Pogues wired up to an Atomic Speed Generator by their knackers"! Hot on its heels came the eponymously titled The Ukrainians album, which showed that the group was not a one-off novelty act and that they could write and record songs of startling sensitivity as well as head-spinningly fast numbers. It inevitably shot into the UK Indie charts.
The Pisni Iz The Smiths EP was recorded in 1992 and released just after New Year in 1993. It contained thoroughly re-worked versions of four classic songs by The Smiths and received tremendous reviews not only in the UK but throughout Europe. A month later Vorony was issued to universal European acclaim and became a VOX Album of the Month in the UK. Amongst its 15 tracks was a moving re-write of The Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs." On the strength of this album The Ukrainians were booked to play 110 concerts during 1993.
The Ukrainians Live was a limited edition 10-inch vinyl charity record (only 1000 copies were pressed). It was released by Blue Records in Germany and profits went to Shelter.
Kultura was released in October 1994. Its subject matter was influenced heavily by the group's experiences while on tour as guests of Ukraine's Ministry of Culture the previous year. "Polityka" described the new breed of manipulative politician who had appeared in the country, cynically exploiting a naïve and inexperienced electorate; "UkrainAmerica" anticipated the effect that multinational corporations and advertising would exert. Now Ukrainians would be taught to consume certain brands of Western soft drinks, beef burgers and cigarettes -- and to think of them as "cool." Kultura turned out to be responsible for extending the group's popularity to Poland and, via extremely enthusiastic responses from college radio stations and Ukrainian emigré communities, across the Atlantic to the USA and Canada.
Over the next few years the group only brought out two records, both singles, and even then they had a limited release. The first was "Radioactivity", a version of the Kraftwerk single which was recorded specifically to raise money for the Children of Chernobyl charity. It was released in Britain and Germany only on the tenth anniversary of Ukraine's nuclear disaster, in 1996.
In 1998 Len and Peter began to work on a dance project, intended to be separate project from The Ukrainians. The idea was to have lyrics in both Ukrainian and English - and to use samples as well as folk instruments. The project remains unreleased to this day except for the Prince songs which appeared on the Nothing Compares 2 U EP. Other tracks featured include 'Sign O The Times' and 'Purple Rain'.
Peter and Len decided to take a break for a couple of years, to refresh. Then in 2001 The Ukrainians re-emerged! A live album, Drink to my Horse! was released on a new label, Zirka Records. It was a collection of live recordings ranging from the band's earliest performances in 1989 with The Wedding Present to the 'Kultura' album tours of 1994.
June 2002 saw the release of the Anarchy in the UK EP, the band's first new material for a number of years. It was the Queen's Golden Jubilee year but more importantly 25 years since the Sex Pistols stunned the world with a string of classic singles: 'Anarchy in the UK', 'God Save the Queen' and 'Pretty Vacant'. The Ukrainians re-interpreted these in their own inimitable fashion on this classic four track CD (there's an added acoustic version of 'Anarchy in the UK'!).
Hot on Anarchy's heels came Respublika, quickly recorded, urgent and vital. The album gained five star reviews and huge amounts radio airplay across Europe and North America and was instrumental in cementing the group's unique place in World Music history.
The confidence from the reaction to Respublika prompted the group to put together Istoriya - The Best of The Ukrainians, a 20 track, 0ver 70 minutes collection of the cream of the band's studio recordings. It was typically perverse of the band to start off their Best Of with a previously unreleased track, the controversial and brilliant 1960s pop maverick Joe Meek's 'Telstar', originally a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic for The Tornadoes in 1962.
In 2007 the group decided to issue one of their unreleased live recordings. They wanted a gig where they had played songs spanning their whole career. They decided on a recording from a festival they had played in Poland in May 2005. The recording is positively zizzing with energy and captures the band in their electric 'Respublika' mode! The packaging, too is remarkable - a gatefold, recycled card sleeve with a traditional-style embroidery on the front cover. Wow!
These releases contain Ukrainians tracks which are not available on any of the above:
Kolo - The Ukrainian Music of Britain
(Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain - 1998)
Tanz und Folkfest Rudolstadt '93
(Hei Deck RUCD 93-1 - 1993)
"Tsyhanochka" - live at the Rudolstadt Folk Festival - ?/7/1993.
Knowing Where It all Leeds
(Stolen Sounds Records BLAG 4 - 1991)
"Zavtra" - Live at Reading University 3-10-1991.