Update: Belarus has now confirmed that VAL will not sing at Eurovision 2021. You can read about that here.

In their first interview in over four months, Belarusian duo VAL have broken what they say was a pact to speak only with journalists from the state-run broadcaster. They spoke to Interesnye Lyudi, an independent platform run by young people.

Since August, VAL have been openly supportive of the pro-democracy movement in Belarus. Alongside other Belarusian stars, such as NAVIBAND, the duo has taken the streets in Minsk during several peaceful protests.

On 19 September, the musical duo consisting of Vladislav Freimann and Valeria Gribusova published a 4-minute long video on their Instagram in which they shared their vision for the future of Belarusian musical culture in a response to the 17 September concert in the Minsk Arena and the long-term oppression of alternative music in Belarus.

View this post on Instagram

??????, ??????? ??????. ?? – ???? VAL, ????????????? ??????? ???????? ?? ???????????-2020. ?????????? ?????? ??????????????, ?????? ??? ????? ????????????????? ?????????? «??? ???????????», ??? ??????? ????? ????????, «?? ?? ???????, ?? ?? ???????? ?????». ? ??? ???? ??????? ????? – ???? ????????? ? ???????? ???????? ?????? ????????. ?? ?????? ?????? ?????????? ????, ? ?????????? ??? ????????? ??????? ??????????? ??????? ???? ?? ??????????? ????????. ????? ??? ??????????? ???????? ????? ????? “???????” ??-?????????. ?????????, ??? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ??????? ?? ?????? ????. ?????? ?????????? ???? ???????? ??? ????????? ?????? ????????. ?? ?????? ???? ??????, “?????? ? ??? ?? ????????, ???? ?????? ????? ?????? ??????????”. ?? ??????? ???? ???????? ?? ??????? @belsatmusic ??????????? ??????????? ????????? ????????, ???? ???? ???????? ??????????? @siarhej_budkin , ???, ?? ????, ???? ?? ????????. ?? ?????? ????? ??????, ??? ???????, ???????? ?? ??????? ?? @pavellatushka , ? ?????? ?????? ??????????? ????? ??????. ???? ? ???????? ????? ??????????. ????? ??? ????, ? ?? ?????. ????? ???????? – ???? ?? ?????????? ?????, ? ????? ?????? ???? ?????????! ???? ????????!

A post shared by VAL = VLAD & LERA ??? (@val.music) on

Will VAL be able to represent Belarus at Eurovision 2021 after protesting?

Their interview with Interesnye Lyudi is their first in several months. Their last interview was back in May, with Evgeniy Perlin, who has since left the state broadcaster. In fact, the two admit that they had an unspoken agreement with BTRC to not speak with journalists outside the state broadcaster.

In the interview, VAL said that they’re not scared that the opportunity to represent Belarus at Eurovision 2021 might be taken from them. They add that it’s not really a question for them either, but  rather for the “most important media holding of the country”. They said:

“For us, it’s most important to be honest with ourselves, with our conscience. There are artists who do not care, but for us, violence and stolen votes are not okay. We want to honestly say what we think.”

View this post on Instagram

Make Love, Not War ????

A post shared by VAL = VLAD & LERA ??? (@val.music) on

Asked if they would be open to representing another country, the duo said that it would depend on the situation. But they would have a think.

If they do not manage to reach Rotterdam in the end, Vlad and Lera said that they won’t be that upset, as there are other things happening in the world that are more pressing. Lera added to that:

“If it were to happen, then the song would only be about current events. We would like to share with the listeners what we all here [in Belarus] had to go through. And with the foreign journalists, we would like to talk about it. But nobody would allow us then (smiles). What else should we sing about then?”

How do VAL envision the future of Belarus?

After releasing their first self-written, Belarusian-language song in July, the duo recently invested in improving their language skills. They see a bright future for the country’s musical scene despite the current situation. Vlad said:

“We want to show what we have in our soul. If we think of ourselves like that, we do not want to lie.”

Lera added to that:

“We don’t want to stop writing songs, but here, there are very few opportunities for growth. When everything changes, there will be a new Belarus, there will be new creative teams — possibly, but it won’t happen immediately — we will support them all.”

Read all our Belarus news here.

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Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
27 days ago

Since their first interview pieces after winning the Belarusian NF, I’ve wondered if VAL are actually both LGBT—and if this is something they would want to have the freedom to say.

I hope whatever it is they want to say, they find the freedom they need.

Alex
Alex
28 days ago

This didn’t age well.

esc2021rotterdam
esc2021rotterdam
28 days ago

The broadcaster just said now that val won’t go in 2021. Poor them 🙁 da vidna was kinda underrated this year.

Last edited 28 days ago by esc2021rotterdam
Joe
Joe
28 days ago

It was a grower, for sure.

esc2021rotterdam
esc2021rotterdam
28 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Agree (it’s my 27th but 2020 was really strong so I couldn’t put it higher)

Joe
Joe
28 days ago

What timing. The Belarusian broadcaster just put out a really nasty statement saying that Val are 100% not going to represent Belarus and was pretty relentlessly bashing them. You stay classy, Belarusian state television (I would write their name but doing so usually gets my comments held for approval).

Joe
Joe
28 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Val were talking a lot about how the broadcaster was distant after their win, not fond of sending artists who don’t follow every word they say, and so on. The broadcaster responded in a way that would make most people think, “That sounds like something the state-run broadcaster of a dictatorship WOULD say!” They also brought up how low they were in the odds, so thanks for the vote of confidence there (and Zena wasn’t that high either, as I recall, but she didn’t talk back so they didn’t say anything).