Meet Russia's Female-Fronted Protest Rock Sensation
BY Christopher Rudolph
March 29 2013 4:00 AM ET
It’s been a while since an alternative punk band has been a breakout hit on the music scene, but that is exactly what the members of Louna hope for as the Russian punk rockers branch out beyond their native country with their first English-language album.
Louna is widely considered the most successful rock band of the modern protest movement in Russia (though Pussy Riot has certainly gotten all the press internationally). The band has garnered plenty of prizes in recent years, including the Best New Artist of the Year Russian Alternative Music Prize in 2009 and the 2011 Rock Song of the Year Nashe Award. Then, in 2012, lead singer Lousine “Lou” Gevorkian won Female Vocalist of the Year at the Nashe Awards.
Now Gevorkian and her Louna bandmates have found themselves with a larger audience, a significant portion of which is queer girls. In fact, when we asked if Gevorkian was a lesbian, through a translater and publicists in Russia and the U.S., she was perplexed. She reminded us that while commonplace in America, such questions aren't usually asked in Russia, where there's been a crackdown on anything “promoting” homosexuality.
Still, she and her bandmates, Vitaly Demidenko and Ruben “Rou” Kazarian, were eager to talk about their new album, Behind a Mask (which has many songs that could speak to LGBT issues), their growing LGBT fan base, and why punk rock is a lesbian thing in Russia.