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Russian music album "What a Balalaika!" by Nikita Siniy

Mikhail Smirnov's review of a new compact disk by Brooklyn based balalaika virtuoso Nikita Siniy. Read this review in Russian

NIKITA SINIY, balalaika virtuoso from Brooklyn, New York just released a new compact disk album called “What a balalaika!” which was recorded in a hot new style of “RUSSIAN FOLK UPDATED”.

In fancy clubs of Brooklyn and The Bronx the musician goes with the stage- name of “RUSTY PALYCH”, which could be approximately translated as “Rusty Wood”. This stage-name is not accidental; it is how Nikita lovingly calls his ancient instrument. This, however, is how he calls all the folk music instruments, with the one exception of bass-balalaika. He has a special expression for the later one, which consists of a few Gypsy words, not to be mentioned here. Exactly for this reason, one famous contrabass-balalaika player from Brooklyn, New York Leonid Bruk hadn’t been talking to “RUSTY PALYCH” for many years.

Currently, Mr. Siniy is a balalaika player at the “Moscow Gypsy Army”, Russian folk band directed by Sasha Ressetar from Harrisburg, PA.

NIKITA SINIY’s latest compact disk has 13 tracks, which are listed below.

TRACK 01 – Etude by Carl Cherni “Six Octaves”

That is an interesting choice for the opening of the album. Masterpiece etude by Carl Cherni from Austria was written for pianists to exercise finger stretching and was never before performed on balalaika. As you all know Russian Balalaika has only two octave ranges, which doesn’t seem to be a problem for Nikita, who finds a way to get out of the traps set by the meticulous composer. When melody is out of balalaika range Nikita is taking a brake. When melody is back to reasonalble balalaika range, Nikita is back to work!


I suppose that the story-line of this amazing number was adopted from a repertoire of London balalaika virtuoso, Bibs Ekkel. Relatively simple melody is accompanied by tossing the instrument up and passing it between the legs and behind the back, while imitating the work of a carpenter and soldier. Unfortunately, the listener is unable to observe the skill of a juggler but by the sounds of falling subjects accompanied by heavy breathing one could probably appreciate the hard work of the musician.


I must confess that I was slightly surprised by this choice of a story-line. The main character of the play came out from a long forgotten Russian limerick:

“Lavrentiy Palych Beriya did not justify the trust,
Therefore what’s left of him is only fluff and dust”
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beriya (1899-1953) is one of the most mysterious figures of Stalin’s era. He was famous for being a good balalaika player, for knowing how to use a revolver, and how to put thousands of Soviet citizens to GULAG (Russian jail).


The right name for this musical piece should be something like “Ah, you lobby, my lobby”. At least one could recognize the melody of exactly this simple Russian song in the ascending and descending balalaika. The Russian name for this song is “Ah, Vy, Senee, Moee Senee”, where “Senee” stands for a “lobby”. Nikita, however, without even thinking about it, used the word “Senee” in a wrong context, assuming that it stands for a typical Russian male’s name - Senja. Also it was an interesting choice of a minor key instead of major.


This musical number will likely to satisfy the experts of Russian Gypsy music. According to the performer’s will, this medley consists of a single tune, which, by the way, strongly resembles the tunes of one popular Beatles song; namely, “Yellow Submarine”.

TRACKS 06, 07, 09 and 10

are the “must haves” of every single Russian music album, which include the rehashes of “Juniper, my Juniper (Kalinka)”, “The Peddlers (Korobushka)”, tiresome “Dark Eyes (Ochi Chyorye)”, and the annoying song about notorious doctor Zhivago (Lara’s Theme). I appreciated the idea of using special effects and disturbing voices, but was surprised when I got really scared while listening to usually peaceful waltz about Dr. Zhivago and Lara’s situation.


This song is dedicated to a rival-balalaika player from Philadelphia, Alex Sinavski. Knowing Alex, I can tell that he would be outraged by this scurvy trick. It is well known in the Russian folk musician’s community that to dedicate this song to any folk musician (“musykant-narodnik”) would be a really bad joke. I have to admit, however, that it is very well played.


is a once popular Russian folk song “SULIKO” superbly performed from back to front.


This is a citation of the song “Separation (Razluka Ty, Razluka)”, which is associated with one very interesting story. In 1861 L.N. Tolstoy had a very bad argument (it almost ended up in a duel) with another famous Russian writer, I.S. Turgenev. Ivan Sergejevich soon afterwards wrote a song called “Separation”. In a letter to Polina Viardo he also mentioned that Lev Nikolaevich will die but the song “Separation” will remain. Sadly, his words were prophetic. It is not clear why SINIY chose such a strange name for this track because everyone knows that Nikita is not familiar with the creative work of Tolstoy and Turgenev and, certainly, never heard the underlying story of a song “Separation”:

“Separation, separation, you’re foreign strange land.
Nobody can separate us but father - wet sand.

Forever and ever I sing this sadly song
We’ll separate, my darling, and it will be so wrong.

So why the separation should be between us, why?
If we can just forget it, and simply say “good-bye?”

TRACK 13 – «Eight'n a half seconds»

This highly talented sketching combines the craftsmanship of different balalaika masters: Rozhkov's beauty of sound, Andrejev’s simplicity of arrangements and Shalov’s clarity of variations. Nikita secretly admitted that in order to record this track he used eight and a half balalaika-seconds (“balalaika-sekunda”). It is too bad that this music piece is too short and lasts only for eight and a half seconds. Although… it is how they say in Russia: “terse and clear”.


Sasha Ressetar (“MOSCOW GYPSY ARMY”): “…Totally, totally, man…”

Alex Siniavski (“BARYNYA”): “…Good balalaika playing techniques in general but his tremolo still needs work…”

Leonid Bruk (“Barynya”, “Brooklyn Balalaikas”, "Russian Carnival”, “Sudarushka”, “Tumbalalaika”, “Moscow Gypsy Army”, and more): “…Nikita is real $#&&%^##, there are way too many modulations in his music…”

Mikhail Smirnov, {Ensemble “Barynya”}
August, 2006

Альбом "Ничего себе балалайка!" Никиты Синего

Эту рецензию, написанную Михаилом Смирновым, также можно прочесть по английски

Михаил Смирнов: Рецензия на новый альбом Никиты Синего

Появился в продаже компактный диск бруклинского виртуоза Никиты Синего "Ничего себе балалайка!" записанный в новом стиле "ПРОДВИНУТЫЙ РУССКИЙ ФОЛК".

В модных клубах бруклина и бронкса музыкант обычно выступает под псевдонимом "RUSTY PALYCH", что можно условно перевести как "Гнилая Деревяшка". Сценическое имя выбрано не случайно, ведь именно так любовно называет исполнитель свой древний инструмент. Впрочем, это же выражение он использует и для всех остальных народных инструментов, кроме контрабас-балалайки. А саму же КБ (контрабас- балалайку) он именует словосочетанием, состоящим из нескольких грубых слов на цыганском. Из-за этого с Палычем уже который год не разговаривает контрабас – балалаечник Леонид Брук.

В настоящее время НИКИТА СИНИЙ играет в ансамбле Саши Решетаря "MOSCOW GYPSY ARMY" в городе Харрисбург, штат Пенсильвания, на балалайке секунде.

Альбом состоит из традиционных 13 траков:

ТРАК 01 – Этюд К.Черни "Шесть Октав"

Интересный выбор для открытия альбома. Виртуозный этюд австрийца Карла Черни, написанный с целью растяжки пальцев у пианистов, никогда ещё не был сыгран на балалайке, диапазон которой составляет около двух октав. Никита находит остроумный выход из ловушек, расставленых дотошным композитором. Если мелодия выходит за пределы звучания балалайки, Никита держит фермату над паузой. Когда мелодия возвращается в регистр инструмента, Никита продолжает играть.

ТРАК 02 – "Волшебная Балалайка"

Полагаю, что сюжет этого шикарного номера был позаимствован музыкантом у виртуоза из Лондона Бибса Эккеля. Сравнительно простая мелодия сопровождается подбрасываниями, продеваниями инструмента между ног и за спиной, имитацией выполнения разных домашних дел и работы плотника. К сожалению, слушатель не может увидеть жонглёрское мастерство Никиты. Только по тяжелому прерывистому дыханию и звукам падающих в студии предметов слушатель оценит Синий труд.


Признаюсь, что я был немного удивлён выбором сюжета. Аллюзорный герой этой пьесы вышел на свет из забытой частушки прошлого века:

"Лаврентий Палыч Берия не оправдал доверия,
Осталися от Берия лишь только пух, да перия"
Лаврентий Павлович БЕРИЯ (1899, Грузия - 1953, Москва) является одной из самых загадочных фигур сталинского руководства. Он был известен тем, что прекрасно играл на балалайке, недурно стрелял из нагана и сгноил в лагерях тысячи советских граждан.


Правильнее было бы назвать эту вещицу "Ах, Вы, сени, мои сени", так как в запутанной системе распределения восходящих и нисходящих интонаций угадывается именно эта мелодия пошлой русской песенки. Здесь следует отметить новаторский выбор малого минорного наклонения.


Этот номер наверняка порадует настоящих знатоков русской цыганской музыки. По прихоти Н.СИНЕГО, попурри состоит всего из одного вольного цыганского напева, а именно, из позаимствованного из известной песни Битлс "Йелоу Субмарин" запева.

ТРАКИ 06, 07, 09 и 09

являются обязательными для любого альбома русской музыки перепевами Калинки, Малинки, Коробушки, опостылевших всем песнях "Очи Черные" и "Докторе Живаго". Стоит подметить интересную особенность – применение всевозможных звуковых эффектов в самых неожиданных местах. Странно вздрагивать от страха, слушая мирный вообщем-то вальс а приключениях славного доктора (Живаго) и Лары.


Никита посвятил балалаешнику конкуренту А. Синявскому из Филадельфии. Уверен, что Алеша будёт возмущен подобной выходкой бруклинского коллеги. Любому музыканту-народнику известно, что означает "СЫГРАТЬ КОМУ-ТО СВЕТИТ МЕСЯЦ". Сыграно, однако, хорошо.


является мастерски исполненной задом наперёд популярной некогда русской народной песней "СУЛИКО".


явно цитирует песню "Разлука, ты разлука", c которой связана любопытная история. В 1861 году писатель Л.Н. Толстой страшно поругался с писателем И.Тургеневым, дело чуть не кончилось дуэлью. Иван Сергеевич вскоре после того сочинил песню "РАЗЛУКА". В личном письме Полине Виардо он написал, что Лев Толстой умрёт, а песня ("разлука") останется. Слова его оказались пророческими.

Мне трудно сказать, почему СИНИЙ выбрал такой странное название для трака. Я точно знаю, что книжек Толстого и Тургенева он никогда не читал.

"Разлука, ты разлука, чужая сторона.
Никто нас не разлучит, лишь мать сыра земля.

Всегда, всегда навеки, так жалобно пою.
Да нас с тобою, милый, разлуке предаю."

Зачем же разлучаться, зачем в разлуке жить?
Не лучше ли расстаться, друг друга позабыть?"


Талантливая зарисовка соединяет в себе красоту звука рожковской балалайки, простоту андреевской аранжировки и ясность шаловских вариаций. Никита рассказал мне по секрету, что при записи этой мелодии он использовал восемь с половиной балалаек. Жаль, что вещь слишком короткая – всего 8 с половиной секунд. "Коротко и ясно",- так говорят в России.

Прослушав альбом НИКИТЫ СИНЕГО "НИЧЕВО СЕБЕ БАЛАЛАЙКА" я вновь оценил правоту старинной поговорки. Давно известно, что мудрость русских пословиц заключается в том, что они противоречат одна другой.


Балалаешник САША РЕШЕТАРЬ ("RUSSIAN GYPSY ARMY"): "Totally, totally, man..."

Басист Леонид Брук ("БАРЫНЯ", "РУССКИЙ КАРНАВАЛ", "RUSSIAN GYPSY ARMY", "SUDARUSHKA" и другие дивные коллективы): "НИКИТА СИНИЙ - настоящий #4%##@@@&^%^&^$^^^$%^@@@?, а то что он говорит про контрабас балалайку правда лишь отчасти..."

Балалаечник Алеша Синявский ("БАРЫНЯ"): "Много хороших и длинных нот, но мало плохих и коротких. Лажи особой нет, если бы не заморочка со "Светит Месяц"


MP3 с альбома "НИЧЕВО СЕБЕ БАЛАЛАЙКА" вскоре появятся на вот этой самой страничке, здесь же можно будет и купить альбом.


Заказать выступление самого НИКИТЫ СИНЕГО с группой Саши Решетаря или соло можно через мою страничку с контактной информацией

Спасибо за Ваше время, потраченное на чтение моей рецензии. Надеюсь, она дала Вам представление о новом имени СИНЕГО НИКИТЫ, которое вскоре зайдет на Вашем широком музыкальном горизонте.

Михаил Смирнов, {Ансамбля Барыня}
Август 2006


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For fast price quote contact Mikhail Smirnov at Barynya Entertainment

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"Russo turisto Obliko Morale" 10$ dollars souvenir T-shirt

Russian Entertainment database: Dancers, musicians, singers and ensembles for hire

Kolyosnaya Lira, Gusli, Donsloy Ryley, Gudok, Balalaika, Rozhok, Zhaleika, Svirel, Kalyuka, DudkaKolyosnaya Lira, Gusli, Donsloy Ryley, Gudok, Balalaika, Rozhok, Zhaleika, Svirel, Kalyuka, Dudka
Handmade Russian instruments for sale

Russian singer Alexander Menshikov from Cliffside Park, NJ

Klezmer Music Band from Brooklyn, New York

Russian folk dance and music ensemble Barynya from Brooklyn, New York

Belly Dancer Olga
Belly Dancer Olga from Brooklyn, New York

Georgian dancers, New York, USA
Georgian dancers from New York

Klezmer Dance ensemble "BOTTLE DANCERS USA", New York, USA
Klezmer dance company "BOTTLE DANCERS USA" from Brooklyn, New York

Balalaika description, pictures, history, lessons, mp3 downloads, video, performers

Russian Gypsy Traditional Music and Dance band "VIA ROMEN", Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Russian Gypsy traditional music and dance show VIA ROMEN. Boston, MA

Russian Balalaika Polyphonic Ringtones Free Download

Russian music in the United States

Russian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Gypsy and Jewish folk dance
Russian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Gypsy and Jewish folk dance show "Canary", Los Angeles, California

Vasily Romany Gypsy band from New York
Russian Gypsy music and dance show Vasily Romany Gypsy band from New York City, USA

Belly Dancer Anna Pipoyan New York City
Armenian supermodel and Belly Dancer from New York City Anna