Leonid Kimovich Bruk, contrabass balalaika virtuoso from New York City
Acclaimed New York based contrabass balalaika player Leonid Bruk (Russian: Ëåîíèä Êèìîâè÷ Áðóê) was born in Leningrad, Russia. Leonid was graduated from music school as a bass guitarist and performed with many different groups. In 1998 he joined Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya. In 2000 he founded his own Russian folk music trio "BROOKLYN BALALAIKAS". Since 1889 when he arrived to USA, Leonid Bruk was deeply attracted to the bass-balalaika and contrabass balalaika. He has played with variuos folk groups including NYC Klezmer Band, Tamara Volskaia's Russian Souvenir ensemble, Mandalin Orchestra of New York, NYC Russian Band and New York Balalaika Orchestra and soon become
known expert in Russian folk music. His specialty is playing balalaika bass and balalaika-contrabass.
Photos from ensemble Barynya performance at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), exhibition Faberge Revealed, Salem, Massachusetts, July 2013.
Photo from concert of "Barynya" ensemble at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) during exhibition "Faberge Revealed" in Salem, Massachusetts, July 2013. Barynya cast: Leonid Bruk, Mikhail Smirnov, Elina Karokhina, Anna Brovkina, Aliaksandr Anatska, Alexander Rudoy. All photos made by Shawn Fitzgerald Photography are available on Barynya website.
Barynya Balalaika Trio at the Bevcam TV Studio, Beverly, MA, June 29th, 2011.
Barynya Balalaika Trio: Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass), Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals).
Recorded and produced by EstradaProduction (www.estradaproductions.com).
Petroushka Ball, 2-11-2011, Waldorf Astoria, New York City
Performance during dinner by Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass), Mikhail Smirnov (guitar), and singer Alexander Menshikov. Recorded by Alexander Gurman (alexandergurman's YouTube channel) on February 11, 2011 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City during the Petroushka Ball.
50th Birthday Party - Russian Sailors' Theme
Saturday, July 17th, 2010, Lake Ozark, Missouri
MC MISHA, singer/one-man-band Sasha Menshikov, Leonid Bruk (bass guitar, balalaika-contrabass), Elina Karokhina (a.k.a DJ Natasha Korolyova, balalaika) entertained an exclusive private party on the Lake Ozark in Missouri. The party with the Russian Sailor's theme took place outside just above the beautiful lake. The temperature was above 90 however everyone had a good time. Musicians played live music with garmoshka, guitar, balalaika, bass guitar, and balalaika-contrabass). The team performed American, Russian, Gypsy, Ukrainian, Jewish, and European popular songs and music.
Leonid Bruk is pictured as a Russian bear who plays bass balalaika. More costumed characters are available for hire.
May 2010, Russian consulate NYC, New York, USA
Performance at the Russian Consulate NYC with singer Sergey Pobedinskiy, violinist virtuoso Valery Zhmud, famous Russian singer Baskov, and Russian folk singer Irina Zagornova.
April 9, 2010, Toronto, Canada
Friday, April 9th, 2010, Old Mill Inn, 21 Old Mill Road, Toronto, Ontario, M8X 1G5 CANADA, Winter Palace Ball and the Gala Charity Fundraiser benefitting Ruskoka, a summer camp for underprivileged children.
Musicians: Elina Karokhina
(garmoshka, guitar, vocals),
Valery Abramov (tenor-saxophone), Oleg Sorin (trumpet).
Festival International des Rythmes du Monde, Chicoutimi (Quebec), Canada, July 2009
Over 10 thousand people attended Barynya performance during Festival in Chicoutimi. Performers: Leonid Bruk, Mikhail Smirnov, Alexander Menshikov, Yan Khmel, Lev Zabeginsky, Valentina Kvasova, Ilia Pankratov.
Mikhail Gorbachev's Liberty Medal Award Gala
National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA
Ensemble Barynya performed during diner Gala after the Liberty Medal 2008 was presented to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev by President George H.W. Bush. Official ceremony took place on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at The National Constitution Center located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall... letter of recommendation.
Eight Barynya dancers, four musicians and three singers entertained a black-tie dinner for more than 1,000 guests. Audience included President George H. W. Bush, Tom Brokaw, Dikembe Mutumbo and Van Cliburn. Barynya performed both concert music and dance throughout the evening. President's Bush and Gorbachev were thrilled. World known concert pianist Van Cliburn shake hands with the balalaika virtuoso Lev Zabeginsky. MC of the evening, American television journalist Tom Brokaw, used one of our microphones to do the toasts. He was standing next to Barynya musicians on the stage.
New York Russian Radio Station City Radio 540AM
Festival of Russian music, dance and culture, May 2008
Brighton Beach Festival of Russian music, dance and culture on May 18th, 2008 was organized by New York Russian Radio Station CITY RADIO 540AM. Barynya performed in the beginning of the concert. Five dancers and two musicians were on the stage built near the south end of Coney Island Avenue (next to Boardwalk) in Brooklyn, New York.
Dancers Valentina Kvasova,
Alexey Maltsev performed Russian dances "Barynya", "Metelitsa", "Kalinka", "Korobushka", Cossack dance Varenka, and Ukrainian folk dance "Hopak".
Mikhail Smirnov was singing and playing garmoshka while
Leonid Bruk was burning fingers on his huge balalaika-contrabass.
On December 13, 2007 at 8pm Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya performed at the "Guvernment" (Kool Haus Entertainment Complex), 132 Queens Quay East, Toronto, Ontario M5A 3Y5 Canada...
view more pictures
July, 2007. Performance series in Ohio communities
Ensemble Barynya was touring the state of OHIO as part of the Ohio Arts Council’s Summer International Music and Performing Arts in Communities Tour (IMPACT). Barynya performed many shows, Russian & Ukrainian dance workshops from July 17 to July 28, 2007. Performance locations included Lakeside, Warren, Marietta, Jackson and Grandview Heights. All performances were free and open to the public.
The Russian Nobility Association in America annual Spring Russian Nobility
Ball took place at the luxurious "Pierre" Hotel on May 11, 2007 in New York City.
Musicians and dancers of New York based Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya (full company)
provided music for coctail hour and thirty minute music and dance program during the dinner. "Barynya" performed popular Russian Gypsy pieces: "Two Guitars", "Kay One", "Vingerka", "3 lines", Russian favorite balalaika arrangement "The Moon is shining brightly" and Cossack song and dance "Varen'ka"
Variations on Russian folk song: "The Moon Is Shining Brightly"
(sometimes translated as "The New Moon is Lighting") written by the "Father of Russian Balalaika" Vasily Vasileyevich Andreyev (1861-1918) is so
popular it was even mentioned in Michail Bulgakov's book "The heart of a dog":
Someone was hard at work playing a rousing tune on the balalaika two
rooms away and the sound of a series of intricate variations on 'The Moon is
Shining' mingled in Philip Philipovich's head with the words of the
sickening newspaper article. When he had read it he pretended to spit over
his shoulder and hummed absentmindedly through his teeth: ' "The moo-oon is
shining . . . shining bright . . . the moon is shining . . ." God, that
damned tune's on my brain!'... read more
Below is the small translation of the song lyrics into English. Russian original text is included as well for those who can read Russian Cyrillic.
Daydreams Waltz mpeg video file This waltz composed by "father" of Russian balalaika Vassily Vassilievich Andreev (born 186l).
Leonid Bruk with his balalaika-contrabass
Balalaika-bass and contrabass balalaikas are the biggest in size, and the strongest and deepest in sound.
BALALAIKA BASS DESCRIPTION First string: D, minor octave.
Second string: A, major octave.
Third string: E, major octave.
The instrument size and form require from the musician to play it in standing position.
A metal pin is attached to it from below, which abuts against the floor.
So neither the instrument body nor its sounding-board touch the performer's dress, and this causes great resonant effect, resulting in powerful,
long and deep sound.
To make the string sound well, musician has to press the strings correctly and tightly by one-two fingers of the left hand,
and strike with the right hand softly, but deeply and with strength. There have been no considerable changes since the time of Vasily Vasilievich Andreyev, but the playing technique is being constantly developed and improved.
Leonid Bruk at Russian Cabaret "Moscow" (corner of East 54th Street and Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York City)
with Russian-Gypsy folk dance and music show group. Also on the photo Irina Zagornova, Natalia Smirnov, Svetlana Yankovskaya, Gennady Gutkin,
Lev Zabeginsky, Misha Smirnov, Sergey Riabtsev and Yuriy Vodolaga
BALALAIKA CONTRABASS DESCRIPTION First string: D, major octave.
Second string: A, contra octave.
Third string: E, contra octave.
The playing method is the same as the playing method of the balalaika bass.
However, the arpeggio is not used here.
To obtain a harmonious and powerful tremolo without rattling, it is recommended to use a big and solid leather plectrum.
The balalaika contrabass is the foundation of the orchestra and its' harmonious and rhythmic support.
The balalaika contrabass plays the same role in the orchestra as the bass.
Leonid Bruk performing famous Russian folk song KALINKA at Russian Maslenitsa Bliny Annual Diner at Holy
Virgin Protection Church, Nyack, New York with Russian folk singer Irina Zagornova, garmoshka player Mikhail Smirnov, bayan virtuoso Yan Khmel, Russian folk singer Natalia Smirnov,
balalaika player Edik Kutovoi and Russian folk dancer Yury Vodolaga