SOUTH CAUCASUS — The famous European “OSCE-Minsk” rock band is back on its fifth tour to Armenia-Karabakh-Azerbaijan in the last 18 months. The international music sensation –formed of former diplomats in 1992 – continues its mission of trying to bring peace to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by serving as human shield in the area of confrontation.
Group members share their excitement about being a part of the peace process in South Caucasus. “I still remember us actually trying to find a peaceful resolution in late 90’s… ,” recalls band’s drummer Igor Popov. “Good times. But then as we came to a deadlock around 2001, our best lead guitarist Kerry Kavano quit the band… and we figured all we can do now is serve as human shields by frequently visiting Karabakh..”
On Monday the Band kicked off its tour by featuring “Territorial Integrity Extravaganzzza” rhapsody in country’s key refugee camps. The rhapsody is Azeri fans’ favorite and is performed regularly during their tours to the country.
Band’s musical style is known for surrealistic lyrics expressing no meaning but invoking warm emotions both among Azeri and Armenian audience. Experts call this genre “diplo-jazz” for its reach out to all parties in an equally ambiguous way.
Armenian key political expert Richard Giragossian believes the band plays a positive role in the region. “Despite its primary musical purpose, the band is also a very useful political tool. Every time they tour in the region, it makes it highly inconvenient for Azerbaijan to unleash any military provocations,” Giragossian says.
“So what we have here is that big powers use famous musician’s bodies as human shield to deter Armenia’s belligerent neighbor from a potential war. This is why Armenian government is more content with the band tours than Azerbaijan’s,” expert concludes.
At their next stop is Nagorno-Karabakh, the band unveiled its new album “Smiley Conflict”. Note that the band is especially popular in NKR, since few musicians visit the break-away republic. This explains why they attracted 70% of the population to the open-air concert.
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry has repeatedly denounced Band’s performances in Stepanakert, calling it “regretful initiative harming Azerbaijani fans of the Band”.
The Band will perform in Yerevan on June 9, featuring one of its greatest hits “Self-Determination Blues”. The concert in Yerevan mainly attracts ranking politicians, Ambassadors and rarely includes general public.
Unnamed source from the RA presidential office says: “I have no idea what on Earth their lyrics is about, but every time we hear them singing, its like angels tapping us on the shoulders and saying – it’s all gonna be fine… it’s all gonna be fine…”
After the regional visit, “OSCE-Minsk” band will spend a month doing studio work to return in late July to promote their revamped diplo-jazz portfolio.