The founder of the trio ‘ Loyko ‘, Sergey Erdenko – is the descendant of the famous Gipsy family which history totals more than three hundred years. The destiny of the Erdenko family has been anyhow connected with an artistic path, and Sergey is not an exception: he has received not only the academic musical education (in the class of a violin), but also became an actor, having finished the Theatrical Academy (GITIS).
With his classmate Alexey Paperniy, he has formed a duet performing Gipsy-Jewish music which both musicians liked very much. Sergey’s concert activity has begun with this duet both as a guitarist, and as a violinist-improviser. Не has also worked at the Theatre ‘ Romen ‘, then at Mark Rozovskiy’s theatre where in performance ‘ Gambrinus ‘ by A.Kuprin, Sergey has played a role of a musician Sashka. For Sergey Erdenko it was the first experience of the composition of music. “When I got used to the image, I understood that words can not say what I can express with the violin, – says Sergey. – On the stage I had to pronounce the same text over and over, but with music, I could always improvise.
And after a while I felt, that frameworks of the theater are not enough for me. Then the desire to create a group which could continue the idea of the theatrical music was born.” Soon the dream was realized. Having done a bit of traveling worldwide with “Gambrinus” and becoming a known actor, in the end of the 1990s, Sergey has come to London. There he has decided to devote himself to career completely.
In the first structure of “LOYKO” entered Oleg Ponomaryov ( Sergey’s cousin, and the son of a famous Gipsy singer Valentina Ponomaryova) and Igor Staroseltsev which further was replaced by Vadim Kulitsky, having begun the career from a small bar “ASHBIS”. With one step after another, in a short time the ensemble has won great recognition.
“After a while I have felt, that the group became a second “Gambrinus” – Sergey recalls. – People haven’t even touched their plates, forgot that they came to eat, to talk, music tightened them in a certain action, in their aura. We did not exist as a background for visitors, and they came for our performance and became our audience. This is what is called a musical theater “.
Soon from a “club” ensemble “LOYKO” has turned into a demanded tour collective and the basic seat of its disposition became Ireland. The group has suited the taste of the local musical brotherhood, and has let out some disks.
“In Ireland there is a very strong musical culture, and for them we were very unusual. Because of us, local musicians have become interested in Gipsy music, and we have adopted some Celtic motives. Each concert ended with a jam-session – often people accompanied even from the hall. And the famous violinist Мoyra Brinnah has written a composition which she has called “LOYKO” and repeatedly performed with us in concerts “.
But “LOYKO’s” success did not stop only in Ireland. The Gipsy trio was recognized all over Europe and America. The ensemble “LOYKO” became not only an authoritative collective executing tradition, but also by the opinion of the European critics, has entered in to the world violin elite. The group repeatedly performed on the largest festivals, received invitations to participation in concert programs and records from Ravi Shankara, Iugudi Меnuhin, Gidon Kremer, Roni Wood, Andre Heller, Stephan Grappelli, cooperated with jazz and fate musicians, played on the best concert platforms. ” I am a happy person – I saw, communicated and stepped onstage with many great musicians “, – says Sergey.
However in ten years, living abroad, Sergey has decided to return home. In 2000 there was a new experimental structure of “LOYKO” in which Sergey has invited guitarist Alexey Bezlepkin? violinist Georgiy Osmolovsk and the voice of his niece Leonsia Erdenko. During this period were released some albums in Russia and Germany. In 2003, Sergey has received the invitation from Hungary, to participate in the project “USTI OPRE”, among the seven best European Gipsy musicians he performed on joint concerts , which were recorded on CD and DVD.
And after a while “LOYKO” returned to the structure of a trio: now, besides Sergey Erdenko, in it performs the guitarist Michael Savichev and the violinist Vladimir Bessonov. “What we have started to do now, is a new coil of a spiral. A trio is an absolute self-value, completeness of a form. A trio or a trinity has a huge might. Michael – is a guitarist with experience, he studied in the Novosibirsk conservatory, took a great interest in jazz, but then became crazy about flamenco and Gipsy music, has left for Spain and played with local Gipsies. Vladimir is a graduate of the Petersburg conservatory. He worked in symphony orchestras.
Later he has moved to Europe, combining the academic concerts with improvisation of Gipsy music “, – Sergey Erdenko tells. The violin and the guitar -are traditional Gipsian instruments. ” I tried to play a duet with an accordion, with a violoncello, with cymbals… But such duologue as with two violinists, has never turned out with no other instrument. Competition – two instruments, two violinists, who will beat whom.
And once again, it is a theater. We are sometimes reproached in excessive hobby for virtuosity – but why not? If you can play fast compositions from which the spirit grasps -it’s great! “LOYKO” is a mixture of many national traditions; classics, jazz and rock, and everyone will find in it something that he likes. Here one can find a bright genre stages, and showers touching up to depth lyrical subject matters, and a set of the plays-portraits devoted to the famous creative persons (“Кusturica”, “Maestro Menuhin”, “Charlie Chaplin”, “Actor Polunin”… It and innovative performing receptions and high quality techniques of game, it intellectuality, drive and refinement.
” LOYKO ‘s” dream is to make Gipsy music of Russia the universal art, uniting different genres and cultures, to achieve that it sounded from the best world stages. Sergey Erdenko – the organizer of the international festivals, producer of the collections, opening to the listener unknown names. The next step to LOYKO “‘s” dream is now happening – one of these days will be let out the fourteenth CD titled ” the Cold Wind ” and film ” The Gipsy Maestro “, and ahead there is a tour across Russia, Europe, India and America. The musicians of ” LOYKO ” invite to their concerts- everyone who is not indifferent to such music !
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A trio of Russian virtuosos (what else can we expect from Russia) offers a dramatic, loaded with pure energy, collection of pearls of the great classical Russian gypsy music. Urbane, endlessly romantic, full of casual bohemian charm – Loyko is a revelation. You could almost say, but now without fear: The Russians are coming!
In recent years, Loyko released four albums on the Russian market: Return Of The Gypsy Maestro (2000), Gypsy Blues (2002), Two Angels (2004) and Oh, What Was This Night (2008). None of these albums was released in Western Europe, but born in Bosnia and living in the Netherlands producer and founder of Snail Records Dragi Šestić, had long been an admirer of Loyko and remained all these years in contact with Sergey. They often discussed the possibility of going into the studio together, but both their agendas did not allow it. The more Dragi listened to the albums that Sergey sent him; the more he became convinced to still do something with Loyko. Eventually it was decided to select ten songs of the four Russian Loyko albums and release them on this album “Hotza”.
As a reminder for the Western European fans. In the future, Dragi and Sergey will absolutely dive into the studio together to record a new album. For now, listeners can enjoy the album Hotza (desire) and refresh themselves with the flowing beauty of these Russian Gypsy maestros Loyko.
Sergey Erdenko – violin, lead vocal
Artur Gorbenko – violin, vocal
Michael Savichev – guitar, vocal
For millennia, two groups: Jews and Gypsies have been global wanderers. From the beginning of the Common Era until quite recently, Jews have lived amidst many cultures not their own. To preserve their identity, in a sea of foreign culture, Jewish people have always deemed it wiser to incorporate foreign cultural elements into the Jewish mainstream than to resist all outer influence absolutely. The Gypsies came from Northern India in a series of migrations starting around 1000.
Gypsies are famed for their ability to make music. However, they were once so reviled that wealthy Hungarians hired Jewish klezmer musicians to play Gypsy music rather than have them do it themselves. That Jewish musicians were able to fill in rather competently, testifies to the rich musical history that the two groups shared. In the 17th century, Jewish musicians fleeing the wars and pogroms of Central and Eastern Europe joined forces with Gypsy performers to tour the southern reaches of the old Ottoman Empire, sharing melodies and musical techniques along the way. Ultimately the Greco-Turkish and Gypsy dance music these klezmorim encountered, helped shape the klezmer style in Eastern Romania (today’s Moldova), just as traditional Russian and Slovakian music influenced Ukrainian and Polish klezmer.
The old-time Klezmer was a traveling musician much like a Gypsy, and he wandered through most of the countries of Eastern Europe including Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary and probably Czechoslovakia. They picked up influences from many cultures and added them to their repertoire. Gypsy musicians, meanwhile, became valued members of many klezmer ensembles.
Those who attended the performance of Trio Loyko last year, remember the electricity in the audience and the standing ovation at the end of the concert. Nobody wanted to let them leave the stage. Musicians really gave everything in this concert. The world renowned virtuoso Russian Gypsy ensemble Loyko – two fiddles and a guitar – was established by Sergey Erdenko in 1990 in London. The band name originated from Loyko Zabar – a famous 19th century gypsy fiddler who traveled around the campfires of Russia creating legends wherever he went. Impressed by the Irish thriving traditional and contemporary music scene, the band moved to Dublin, and was based in Ireland for ten years until Sergey’s return back home to Russia in 2000.
All Loyko’s players: Sergey Erdenko, Vladimir Bessonov (a new member, who just joined the ensemble in 2007) and Michael Savichev being educated at Russia’s classical conservatories, bring a technical and tonal brilliance to their largely traditional repertoire that’s far more refined than the raw approach of many traditional Gypsy ensembles. Still, the group manages to capture the emotional eruptions typical of Gypsy music Sergei Erdenko – gypsy violinists, is a member of one of Russia’s oldest clans of Gypsy musicians. In their family’s 300 years tradition boys learn the violin and girls practice singing and dancing. Sergey’s great grandfather, Mikhail Erdenko, – a famous violinist, who was the first to gain international recognition, becoming a professor of music at the Moscow Conservatory. Leo Tolstoy was his friend and admirer. By the way, Mikhail Erdenko was asked by Leo Tolstoy to make the arrangement of the Jewish prayer Col Nidrey.
Sergei Erdenko began to play the violin at five. Virtuoso musician, being attracted by the magic of theatre, he graduated from the Moscow Theatre Academy as a drama actor in addition to his musical education. Sergei is well known for his roles in several Moscow acting companies. One of his theater roles for which he received great acclaim in 90th was a role of Jewish violinist Sashka in the play – “Gambrinus” by A.Kuprin. This role made him famous overnight.
In addition to the instrumental music, Loyko pays much attention to the vocal tradition of Russian Gypsies. Their repertoire ranges from both modern and old Gypsy songs, ballads and romances to new compositions. The combination of two fiddles and guitar, together with three-part vocals, gives their music great depth and flexibility.
Since its formation, Loyko have given over 2 thousand concerts all over the world. Loyko played and recorded with such musicians as Gidon Cremer, Andre Heller, Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli, Ravi Shankar, Rony Wood, Calman Baloc, Mstislav Rostropovich, etc. on most prestigious stages of Europe and America – Albert and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, Olympia in Paris, Opera House in Vienna, Stuttgart, Luxemburg, and Paris conservatories, etc. They have appeared on various radio and TV shows all over Europe and were heard across Canada on CBC Radio Two in Roots & Wings world-roots music program. Loyko released 10 solo albums and the DVD album “Return of Gypsy Maestro”, which was recorded live on the stage of Tchaikovsky concert hall in Moscow.
Review by Adele Grosman