Alexander, or "Sasha," Menshikov (1962-2015), an obituary notice
Alexander was born on May 3rd, 1962 in Bugulma in the Republic of Tatarstan in the former USSR. He studied singing at the Gnesins Academy of Music in Moscow, the most prestigious school for vocalists in Russia. Mr. Menshikov was the lead singer of the hard-rock band "Black Coffee" and the eccentric show group "BIM BOM" in Moscow. He used to be the leader of his own live music band in Russia and later a Russian wedding band in the United States. He performed on Soviet national TV and competed at the international singing competition "Step to Parnas,” a Soviet version of the TV show “The Voice.”
Sasha was an amazing entertainer, singer, talented musician, and a genuine and loving person. He was able to feel the music and express it beautifully with his amazing voice. He was great as Russian folk singer, Gypsy Roma singer, and singer of popular songs from around the world.
He was a man with a beautiful spirit and a kind heart. Everyone who knew Sasha personally agrees that he was one of the sweetest people in the world.
Sasha lived a challenging life being a musician, father, dealing with his health issues and financial challenges but he was an optimist and full of life person that appreciated everything he had and everything what life given to him.
Sasha was a religious person who respected the Russian Orthodox Church. He would bless the “BarynyaMobile” before every long trip we ever took.
Among professional musicians and entertainers he was considered the best Russian folk and modern song singer in the United States. The song "Letter to Mother" from Alexander Menshikov's album "Mother Russia" was selected as the best interpretation of Sergei Esenin's lyrics in Russia in 2009. In his singing he was playful and tearful, funny and tragic. His hits included the famous "Dark Eyes," the foot-tapping "Along The Piterskaya Street," the sad "Vodka Glasses," the cheerful "Dunyushka," and the Russian-Gypsy favorite "Those Were the Days."
Alexander recorded several albums with Barynya in the United States. But his signature song was "Chyornye Brovi," a weeping Ukrainian folk song about love.
The best Gypsy Romani group led by Vadim Kolpakov also invited Sasha Menshikov to sing with their show when they had a chance. Alexander Menshikov was the Barynya ensemble’s lead singer since 1996. He traveled to perform as soloist with Barynya to over forty states, Mexico, Canada, and Australia. For the Barynya team this loss is immeasurable.
Sasha’s last public performance was on November 28, 2014 with the ensemble Barynya at the Russian restaurant Romanoff in Brooklyn, New York.
His final resting place is the Novo-Diveevo Russian Orthodox Cemetery in Nanuet, New York. His life was not easy—the night lifestyle of a working musician, health issues, everyday problems. Sasha left behind a mother, sister, two sons, two grandchildren, and many friends.
During the Barynya showcase at the APAP conference on Sunday, January 11, the day after the funeral, a member of Barynya saw a glimpse of Sasha sitting at the last row of seats at the Morgan Suite of the Hilton Hotel in New York City where the showcase was taking place. He was wearing his favorite small black "Gypsy" hat. And then the tech guy turned on the lights and the image of Sasha was gone. I was wondering if his soul visited Barynya's showcase to check out who is singing his part now (it was soprano Irina Petrik). Sasha loved showcases at the NY Hilton Hotel. In the beginning of November 2014 we were talking with Sasha how he would go to get food from the street vendor on the corner of 6th Ave and 53rd Street. He just loved that smelly street food.
Rest in Peace, dear Sasha Menshikov, we talk about you every day. You were such a good friend and talented person.
Mikhail Smirnov, ensemble Barynya artistic director with help of Serge Rogosin and Andrey Menshikov.
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