t.A.T.u. is a Russian dance-pop duo fronted by Volkova Yulia Olegovna (Julia Volkova) and Katina Elena Sergeevna (Lena Katina). Assembled by a former TV-commercial producer named Ivan Shapovalov, the two girls released their debut single "Ya Soshla S Uma" ("All The Things She Said") in 2001. The name t.A.T.u. is inspired by the word "tattoo," and the duo is sometimes called "taty" in Russia. (See below for the reason.)
etoile says re t.A.T.u.: FWIW, the group isn't called "taty" - that's their name in Russian. The Cyrillic letter that looks like "y" is pronounced "oo" - hence tatOO, or tatY.
ed note — I am leaving my comment about "taty" in the writeup because some people had asked what it was supposed to mean, and because the mix up occurs on other online sources also.
The group would probably have been considered unremarkable were it not for the fact that the girls play the part of genuine Lolitas—though Julia was born only in 1985 and Lena in 1984, they already flaunt an ambiguous sexuality, publicly proclaiming to be lovers and performing in sheer (SHEER) underwear. The video for "All The Things She Said" features the two girls making out while wearing schoolgirl uniforms—in the rain. Needless to say, they have generated a huge amount of controversy in Russia, which has not hindered (and has probably contributed to) "All The Things She Said" winning MTV Russia's Video of the Year award.
Julia and Lena met in the children's pop group Neposedi, though Julia was asked to leave the band in 1998 for “misbehaving and molesting other band members." Despite the gratuitious emphasis placed on the girls' sexuality, Lena insists that "Our songs are not silly, t.A.T.u. is more sincere, more honest about ourselves and others. We don't shape ourselves for the audience. In Russia, life is not polite. If we don't like something, we say we don't like it. If we don't agree, we say 'fuck you.'"
Their music is synthy, dancey electro-pop, and the fact that Trevor Horn, of the Buggles, Yes, and Art of Noise (and Belle and Sebastian!), is working with t.A.T.u. on an English language version of their debut album, "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane," gives them a surprising amount of musical credibility.
Just so you know, because I am SURE you are wondering, Julia is the hotter of the two (IMHO), looking like a younger (slutty) Björk, while Lena looks like freaking Little Orphan Annie. A slutty Little Orphan Annie.
"t.A.T.u. is about saying what you feel, not what others expect," says Lena. "Be in love. Be yourself. We are."
The full video for "All The Things She Said" can be found at http://www.tatugirls.com, the group's official website, and more info and a large gallery of slutted-out photographs can be found at the group's unofficial English-speaking fanpage: http://www.taty.us.
Yes, I realize this is a badly disguised excuse to "research" t.A.T.u photo galleries. As the Russians say... "fuck you."
This instance of lowest common denominator noding brought to you by raging teenage hormones and long Russian winters.
No more votes, thank you! This should NOT be my highest rated writeup! Thank you.
MALTP says re t.A.T.u.: Actually, the Russians say Пашол на хои.