Our writer Drew Denny traveled from L.A. to Lithuania, Germany, Poland and Denmark meeting artists and musicians for her “Overseas Underground” series. Her first stop was a national forest on the Baltic Sea where Lithuanian DJs celebrate their country's liberation on air.
After the Soviet years of smuggling CDs and copying tapes in order to hear new music, Linas Ramanauskas decided to quit his corporate job and found a radio station in the middle of the forest on the Baltic Sea so Lithuanians young and old can enjoy music without having to cross international borders or break the law. Supporting alternative, dub, reggae, experimental and pop music from around the globe, Neringa FM broadcasts a world-class program, enjoys a healthy internet audience, and even hosts beach volleyball games on the Russian border. Stay tuned to www.neringafm.lt because L.A. favorite Gaslamp Killer is joining them later this summer!
Was it difficult for you to have access to music during the Soviet years?
It wasn't easy actually. I was a sportsman. We were going to some competitions in Western Europe, and all the time we were bringing CDs back and copying to cassettes and spreading them around. If you got the CD of some kind of new music, you were making 10 copies and from these copies you make another 10 copies. For sure it was like that. No one was importing CDs with some kind of alternative music. CDs were quite expensive. It was about sharing it among 10 people.