The Ljubljana-based post-punk/indie-rock band Lelee is a symbol of cross-cultural collaboration among Balkan musicians as it comprises Belgrade-born vocalist and bassist Jelena Rusjan (Borghesia, TRUS!), Macedonian guitarist and vocalist Damjan Manevski (Rush to Relax, Molokai) and Slovenian drummer Jan Kmet (balans, Kalu) and keyboardist Blaž Gracar (Blaž). As participants of Club Marathon 2020, the yearly club tour organised by Radio Študent, the band made a name for itself on the regional alternative music scene with its radiant and exciting d.i.y. indie sound and male/female singing in Macedonian and Serbian language.
Their debut ‘Čuka bije pumpa’ (Moonlee Records, Ill in the Head Records, 2021) brings forth prominent male-female harmonies à la Yo La Tengo that stay ingrained in your memory for a long time. In their songs, you can catch references to the pioneering unpolished sound of veterans, such as Dinosaur Jr. and The Pixies, contemporary indie punk ambassadors like Sweeping Promises and Uranium Club, easy-going jangle pop and Yugoslav new wave. Despite age differences between band members they share a sincere fondness for sounds from recent indie history, which they shape into a contemporary expression for the modern listener.
Lelee are champions of melodious indie songwriting with a knack for pop sensibility, smoothly delivering catchy choruses and light-hearted, sometimes nostalgic and every so often even more fierce melodies – ideal for long motorway escapades and never-ending summer wanderings. Damjan’s guitar jangles joyously, Jelena delivers bass lines that make your toes itch, and Jan makes sure that everything is tight, resulting in a perfect soundtrack for lazy afternoons in the summer garden. Lelee’s music is a kind of imaginary Adriatic indie rock that is emotive, sincere and straightforward, tailored for alternative as well as mainstream audiences looking for fresh music.
»This post-punk / indie trio managed to put together one of those albums that are played from start to finish, due to the furious rhythm section, infectious guitar melodies and lyrics that mix Macedonian and Serbian, carrying beautiful and well-blended messages.« (AlJazeera Balkans)
»It is a band that represents a refreshment on the scene, as it has found quite a solid balance between the northern strictness and the southern ‘I don’t care’ mentality.« (Ravnododna)
»An interesting album that needs to be listened many times because Lelee conveys her musical ideas with great ease, which make you smile and invite you to dance.« (Nacional.hr)
»… is worthy the title of the best album the year, if not that, then at least for the debut album of the year.« (Odzven)
»Some would say: it’s Slovenian album of the year, and others that’s actually Serbian. I agree with them all. It’s No.1 in the region!« (beehype)
»Čuka bije pumpa is a fun album worth listening to (several times).« (Muzika.hr)
#1 Best album of 2021 – North Macedonia (beehype)
#2 Best album of 2021 in Slovenija (Radio Študent)
Top 5 albums of 2021 – ex-YU region (noizz.rs)
Top 50 albums of 2021 – worldwide (BeforeAfter)
#17 Best album of 2021 – ex-YU region (Ravnododna)
Damjan Manevski (guitar, vocals)
Jelena Rusjan (bass, vocals)
Jan Kmet (drums)
Blaž Gracar (keyboards)