The Leningrad Cowboys is a Finnish rock band famous for its humorous songs and concerts featuring the Soviet Red Army Choir. In short, they are the Finnish version of our beloved SPINAL TAP.
The band was an invention of the Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki, appearing as a fictional band in his 1989 film Leningrad Cowboys Go America. The fictional band, however, was made up of members of a real Finnish band, the Sleepy Sleepers, plus some additional people. In the film, they are joined by Nicky Tesco, former lead member of the UK punk band, The Members.
After the film, the band took on a life of its own, recording music, making videos and giving concerts. The band appeared in two other Aki Kaurismäki films, the Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses (1994) and the Total Balalaika Show (1994), which is a film of a concert performed by the band and the full 160-member Red Army Choir in Helsinki, Finland in June 1993.
In 1994, the band appeared together with 70 members of the Red Army Choir at the 11th annual MTV Music Awards, at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, where they sang the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic Sweet Home Alabama. The show was seen by an estimated 250 million people worldwide.
Just in case you missed it…