Barynya Balalaika Trio led by Elina Karokhina, best Russian balalaika virtuoso in the United States of America. Elina was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. She began her formal training at the Mussorgsky Music College of St. Petersburg and continued her training at N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, earning a degree as an Orchestra Soloist. Elina continued her training at the Conservatory, which included a brief residency in Germany.
After, she returned to her native St. Petersburg and completed her education, earning a Doctor of Musical Art Degree in the Balalaika. Following her graduation, she began working as a musician, both as a teacher and as a performer, teaching balalaika. Elina Karokhina served in the Russian Army in the Military Ensemble in the Northwest Order of Red Stars. She is a winner of International Music Competition in Cherepovets and a Holder of the First Place in Troyanovsky's Competition for musicians performing of traditional instruments in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world. She was a soloist of State Concert Russian Orchestra of Saint Petersburg under direction of Honored Performer of Russia Vladimir Popov (Russian: Государственный Русский концертный оркестр Санкт-Петербурга, Художественный руководитель и главный дирижер – Заслуженный деятель искусств России ВЛАДИМИР ПОПОВ.) When she moved to the United States in 2009 she was hired as a musicial director and soloist with the biggest professional Russian music, song and dance ensemble Barynya (New York). In January 2015 Elina Karokhina was selected to perform the balalaika part with Mariinsky Theatre directed by world-famous conductor Valery Gergiev in Rodion Shchedrin's opera "The Enchanted Wanderer" at the Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York. In May 2016 she was hired to play several concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City with symphony orchestra, choir, and opera soloists as a soloist of "The Orchestra Rocks" production.
In September 2016 she appeared at the Carnegie Hall again as a part of "Moscow Gypsy Army" representing rich musical culture of Eastern Europian Roma people. In January 2017 Elina was hired to play Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh" Suite at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra. All four performances were under direction of world-famous conductor Sir Mark Elder.
Acclaimed New York based contrabass balalaika player Leonid Bruk is the founder of the trio. Leonid Bruk (Russian: Леонид Кимович Брук) 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, the biggest balalaika in size.
Mikhail Smirnov plays the garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion), guitar and sings. He has been in the business of Russian folk dance and music for more than 30 years. Mikhail is an artistic director and founder of ensemble Barynya based in New York City, author of many articles about traditional Russian dance, music and instruments in English and Russian.
Mikhail received his Master's degree from the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts. As a child, he was a member of the famous "Moscow Boys Chorus" - one of the most prestigious all-male choirs in Russia. Before coming to the United States in 1991, Mikhail was a soloist in a several Russian folk dance and music groups including the Moscow State Center for Russian song, "Russkaya Pesnya", under the direction of Nadezhda Babkina. In January 2009 Mikhail Smirnov and dancers of ensemble Barynya were featured on national TV, NBC's "SUPERSTARS OF DANCE" - breathtaking international dance competition led by executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance). This prestigious dance competition hosted by Michael Flatley ("Lord of the Dance") and Susie Castillo, a former Miss USA. Mikhail Smirnov was one of eight judges to decide which country will win. The show premiered on NBC network.
Balalaika Trio is available for hire in New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), Pennsylvania (PA), Connecticut (CT), and other states.
The trio often performs with singer Irina Zagornova, and Russian dancers of Barynya.
Photos with singer Irina Zagornova in Queens, NY, October 13, 2018
Emirates-Russian Week, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Musicians of Barynya ensemble provided several thirty minute performances during Emirates-Russian Week at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The most important guest of the Emirates-Russian Week were Russian president Vladimir Putin as well as United Arab Emirates' Prime minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov.
Koinonia Christian Fellowship, Bloomingdale, Canada, October 26, 2019
Leonid Bruk, Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov performed a program of Russian and Russian-Gypsy traditional music during Svet Ministries Event at the Koinonia Christian Fellowship in Bloomingdale, Canada on Saturday, October 26, 2019 . Performance took place at the Koinonia Christian Fellowship, 850 Sawmill Rd, Bloomingdale, ON N0B 1K0, Canada.
Russian-American Wedding at the Garrison, Garrison, New York
On Saturday, September 17th, 2011 musicians and dancers of Russian dance, song, and music ensemble Barynya provided music and entertainment during mixed Russian-American wedding in Garrison, New York. Cast of Barynya included Danila Sherstobitov (dancer), Ilia Pankratov (dancer), Olga Chpitalnaia (dancer), Anna Brovkina (dancer), Leinid Bruk (contrabass balalaika player), Mikhail Smirnov (singer, garmoshka, and guitar player), and balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina. Exact address of the venue: The Garrison, 2015 US 9, Garrison, New York 10524. Address for GPS: 1 Snakehill Rd, Garrison, NY 10524.
Concert at the United States West Point Military Academy, West Point, New York
Balalaika Trio perfored a formal concert at the West Point Military Academy on April 16th, 2015. Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals), Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass) played a mix of popular, classical and traditional music and songs from Russia and from around the world. Program of performance included Andreev's Waltz, Russian folk song Kamarinskaya, Dr. Zhivago, The Moon Is Shining Brightly, Peddlers, Yablocko, Ural Mountain dance, Angry Husband, Onegin's Name Day Waltz, Russian Tongue Twisters, Mozart Turkish Rondo, Russian Folk Songs Medley, Dark Eyes, Gypsy Roma Medley, Shostakovich Waltz #2, Chardash, Balalaika Medley, Valenki (Felt Boots).
Balalaika Trio at the Gamrinus Re-Opening in Brooklyn, New York, May 3rd, 2019
Musicians of the Barynya Balalaika Trio led by Elina Karokhina, best Russian balalaika virtuoso in the United States of America, performed three sets of Soviet, Russian, Jewish, and Gypsy songs and music during the Grand Re-Opening of iconic Russian Restaurant Gamrinus located on the corener of Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach Avenue in the heart of Russian Brooklyn on Friday, May 3rd, 2019 from 8pm to midnight. Exact address of the venue: Gambrinus & Co, 3100 Ocean Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11235.
Barynya Balalaika Trio: Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass), Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals).
Recorded and produced by EstradaProduction. All photos and videos from this event are available at the website www.Russian365.com.
Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), exhibition "Faberge Revealed", Salem, Massachusetts, July 2013.
Photo from concert at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) during exhibition "Faberge Revealed" in Salem, Massachusetts, July 2013. All photos made by Shawn Fitzgerald Photography are available on Barynya website.
Petroushka Ball, February 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-2011.
Videos were recorded during the "Gypsy Night" and "Open Microphone Night" at the Balalaika and Domra Association of America conference-2010. The conference took place at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota in July 2010. Performers: Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass), singer Alexander Menshikov, Mikhail Smirnov (guitar, garmoshka, vocals). Camera - Sergey Rogozin, video editing Leonid Bruk.
List of songs performed on video below
"Two guitars" (continue) - singer Misha Smirnov
"Kai Yone" - singer Sasha Menshikov
"Yablochko - Small Apple" - Lyonya Bruk, Lina Karokhina
"Prikhayape" - singer Sasha Menshikov
"Sing it once, sing it twice" - Misha and Sasha
"Hava Nagila, 7:40, Felt Boots" - solo Lina Karokhina
List of songs performed on video below
"Russian Tongue-Twisters" - solo Mikhail Smirnov
"Caprice #24" by Paganini - solo Elina Karokhina
"Shnitke's Fuga" - solo Leonid Bruk
"Along The Piterskaya" ("Вдоль по Питерской") - singer Sasha Menshikov and trio
List of songs performed on video below
"Styopa The Drunk" (with Judy Sherman's "Big Rock Balalaikas" from Los Angeles, CA)
"Burn, Burn, Gypsy Love" (with Judy Sherman's "Big Rock Balalaikas")
"Gypsy Fantasy" (arr. Shalov) - solo Lina Karokhina
"Somewhat sad, let's play the guitar" - singer Sasha Menshikov
"Two guitars" - singer Misha Smirnov
New York Balalaika Folk Music Trio BROOKLYN BALALAIKAS Russian was founded in Brooklyn, New York by acclaimed
contrabass-balalaika player Leonid Bruk in 2000.
Long rehearsals took place in cold garage of Leonid's house in Bay Ridge.
Many Russian residents of Brooklyn still can remember the excitement of Brooklyn Balalaikas
first performance in Kings Plaza Macy's store. Russian "rubashkas" and "kosovorotkas" (outfits) were made for ensemble members by Leonid Bruk's wife, talented Russian folk singer Irina Zagornova. Brooklyn Balalaikas trio musicians Alex Siniavski (balalaika, Gypsy guitar), Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals) and Leonid Bruk are also performing sometimes as part of Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya from New York.
"Brooklyn Balalaikas" Alex Siniavski, Mikhail Smirnov and Leonid Bruk videos
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".
RUSSIAN FOLK TUNE "THE MOON IS SHINING" VIDEO
Russian folk tune "Svetit Mesyats" (The moon is shining brightly) recorded on Sunday, April 15, 2007 at the Beck Center for the Arts. 17801 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio performed by Alex Siniavski (balalaika), Leonid Bruk (balalaika contrabass), Mikhail Smirnov (guitar)
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.
Светит месяц, светит ясный
Светит белая заря.
Осветила путь дорожку
Мне до Сашина двора
THE MOON IS SHINING
The moon is shining, shining brightly
The white nightfall is shining too
My pathway is eliminated
All the way to the Sasha's place
Waltz Daydreams This waltz composed by "father" of Russian balalaika Vasily Vasilievich Andreev (born 186l).
Solo by balalaika virtuoso Alex Siniavski, Mikhail Smirnov-guitar, Leonid Bruk-balalaika-bass.
1,94 MB video mpeg file
Russian Folk Music Trio "Brooklyn Balalaikas" has extended repertoire of Russian, Ukranian, Gypsy
and international folk and popular music.
References, audio and video samples are available upon request. Professional quality own sound system.
Balalaika virtuoso Alex Siniavski
arrived in the United States in 1992
from St.Petersburg, Russia. He was a leading member of The Andreev
State symphonic balalaika orchestra,
one of the most prestigious in former USSR.
Alex Siniavski graduated with honors from the
Leningrad State Musical Conservatory.
He is also master of trombone and euphonium.
New York based Balalaika-contrabass player Leonid Bruk was born in Leningrad, Russia.
He graduated from music school as a bass guitarist and performed with many different groups.
Since 1989 when he arrived to USA, Leonid was deeply attracted to the bass-balalaika.
He has played with variuos folk groups and soon become
known expert in Russian folk music.
His specialty is playing balalaika-bass and balalaika-contrabass.
Russian folk performer, singer and musician Mikhail Smirnov has over fifteen years of experience in
traditional Russian folk singing and music,he plays garmoshka and guitar.
Before graduation Misha (Mikhail) was a soloist/choirmaster at vocal semi-professional group "Moskovia" (director Valery Nesterov).
After graduating from Moscow State Academy of Arts Mikhail Smirnov was performing with
Russian folk Theatre "Matanya" and Moscow State Folk Center "Russkaya Pesnya" (Russian Song, director Nadezhda Babkina).
Russian Balalaika Duo - program of Russian, Ukrainian, Gypsy, Cossack, Klezmer, and international music and songs performed on balalaika, garmoshka and guitars. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. video