‘The music, it’s beautiful! Good for a trip, with hair hanging loose, jeans frayed – as if being out of a 21st century context full of hashtags. In this case it’s only an advantage. For some the psychedelic stories of Garbanotas Bosistas remind of Tame Impala, for me perhaps it’s more DJ Harvey, but only because it was his album that I listened to a lot and frequently over the last season,’ I wrote three and a half years later, when the first blossoms of May 2015 decorated the capital’s pavements, and the group released their album Above Us. It was a Wednesday evening and it wasn’t even the first time that the people of Vilnius packed in a concert hall quite big one even for a capital city. By the way, the psychedelic Australians Tame Impala have always been the ones mentioned first, when talking about foreign equivalents and those who might serve as an inspiration to Garbanotas Bosistas, that is, if you listen to that kind of music at all. I didn’t listen to it. I know that I was one of the group’s fans and not the only one.
‘What’s set out here is true but as to whether it’s a new tradition – that’s hard to say,’ said Gabrielė modestly, who as the group’s manager undoubtedly contributed to the fact that the musicians (who at some time in the past had played with a Christian music band and that’s a very interesting piece of information when reflecting on the message of peace they promote) have never been the object of sharp criticism even from music critics who aren’t at all careful about the words they choose. The only exception perhaps being… their name. Yes, even in Lithuania not everyone manages to write it correctly, never mind when they’re touring abroad, when the letters in incomprehensible words get twisted up like flowers in one’s hair. Perhaps that’s why the group is now called just Garbanotas (yes, that’s an autumn 2018 announcement).
A little before I put the word ‘courageous’ in brackets since over the last several years, besides the fact they are the darlings of all those who have ever seen them in Lithuania, the musicians are regularly touring abroad. By the way, I personally made the acquaintance of Gabrielė in Estonia when both of us participated in Tallinn Music Week, the strongest event in the Baltic countries in terms of international relations, and this fact explains why some bands tour abroad while others remain jealous.
Garbanotas goes back to the places abroad they’re already familiar with less frequently but they certainly already have fans in neighbouring countries, confirms the group’s manager: ‘Latvians came to the launch of the album and a group of like-minded people from Latvia has come to the Tilto namai festival organized by us for the second year running. That event, by the way, also brings in an audience of all hairstyles – that is to say, all those who listen to Garbanotas and members of its extended family. And those are Parranda Polar, Sheep Got Waxed, Kabloonak, and others. In this connection I remember the view expressed in the weekly Literatūra ir menas (with which I completely disagree) that Garbanotas has created a peculiar alternative music mafia network – that is to say, they play at each other’s concerts, they support one another and so block the way for new talents. Friendship and peace, the features of this musical family, can be heard not just in the sounds but in how they socialize and how they’re open to opportunities.
‘Flowers are coming out of the loudspeakers’ is already a very old compliment paid to the music of Garbanotas. It doesn’t matter what language the songs sung by the group is in – Lithuanian, English or that of the birds. Flowers are an expression of universal beauty. Determined, unpretentious and sometimes stunning at the very moment when a bud becomes a blossom. It’s not very often that you can speak about a band in botanical terms.
Translated from the Lithuanian by Romas Kinka