Formed in 1991, Skylė (Hole) is one of Lithuania’s most unique and original bands. Combining folk rock, art rock and even Pink Floyd-influenced sounds, they create music with a deep philosophical meaning, often inspired by historical events, ancient myths and traditions. The group is led by the husband and wife duo Rokas Radzevičius and Aistė Smilgevičiūtė, who have proven their creativity in various fields: they have written several popular musicals, and write and record songs for children. Aistė has even taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest (in 1999 with a song influenced by folk music, still considered to be one of the best entries Lithuania has ever sent). Rokas has published a book about Lithuanian rock history. However, Skylė remains their most important creative vehicle.
The band has released umpteen albums, many of them quite different in sound, so it might be a bit tricky to delve into their catalogue. We suggest you start with two of their most interesting releases. Broliai (Brothers, 2010) tells the story of the Lithuanian resistance movement after the Second World War. It is a song cycle about people who risked their lives in the forests to fight the Soviet regime which occupied Lithuania. Rereleased in 2017, the album also features English translations of all the lyrics. Dūšelės (Souls), released in 2016, is a conceptual album about the soul’s journey between this and other worlds, inspired by ancient Lithuanian beliefs about life and the afterworld, and how such beliefs survive and resonate in folk songs, fairy tales and traditions. It also features a separate CD of the same songs re-imagined by Lithuanian electronic music composers. If you ever have the opportunity, go and see this band live. Enhanced by visuals and special lighting, their performances usually create a special atmosphere, as if you are witnessing a magic ritual.
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