The Russian folk string instrument balalaika is still very much in demand. So say the participants of a Moscow festival called "Balalaika is the Soul of Russia". You can play simple folk songs on the instrument, or even classical pieces by Gaidan, Liszt, and Bach.
[Michael Maidanov, Festival Organizer]:
“There is increased interest, numbers of balalaika players, and enthusiasm towards the music, which can only be achieved when the most widely recognized musicians perform the most popular stages. In order to achieve this, the academic side must be raised.”
Requirements for participants are high. They must perform a musical piece, created specifically for the competition, along with more famous pieces. Moscow resident Denis Bichkov practiced Tarantella by Levin for one month. He’s serious about playing the balalaika and plans to become a professional musician.
[Denis Bichkov, Competitor]:
“Unfortunately, not many people play the balalaika these days. That's not good, because people are forgetting the roots of Russian culture. There is a saying – there's no future without knowing the past.”
Although the balalaika is considered to be a Russian folk instrument, Ukrainians ended up upstaging Russia, winning the competition. Crimea natives Bogdan Durd and Michiel Kandaurov received first and third place prizes. They performed in front of a Russian audience for the first time, but have toured their home land for a long time.
[Bogdan Durd, Competition Winner]:
“When I first started competing, I felt nervous. Later, I got used to it. When I perform, I watch the audience. Their reaction is interesting. The applause is, of course, nice to hear.”
The audience was also satisfied.
[Natalia Nagibna, Audience]:
“Actually, I do not regret being here. This is fairly interesting.”
NTD News, Моscow.