Russian music and dance duo consisted of Elina Karokhina (balalaika virtuoso, dancer, costumed characters, vocals) and Mikhail Smirnov (singer, garmoshka, guitar, costumed characters) performed one hour concert of traditional music, songs and dances for kids and adults in Fort Myers, Florida on Thursday, June 16, 2016. First performance started at 10am at Lakes Regional Library, 15290 Bass Rd., Fort Myers, FL 33919. Second concert started at 3pm at trhe Riverdale Branch Library,
2421 Buckingham Road,
Fort Myers, FL 33905.
Program of performance:
01. Siberian Nanai Tribe Sumo Wrestling Dance «Борьба Нанайских мальчиков»
02. "Saturday Affair", Russian folk song, (Russian: «Субботея» - Subboteiya)
03. "The Snowstorm" Russian folk song and dance (Russian: «Метелица» - Meteleetsa)
04. "Kamarinskaiya" (Russian: «Камаринская»), introduction of Russian folk instrument balalaika
05. "Skorogovorkee" (Russian: «Скороговорки»), Medley of Russian tongue-twisters
06. "Dark Eyes" (Russian: «Очи Чёрные»), Russian Gypsy Roma song and dance
07. Waltz "The Buttefly (Russian: «Babochka») written by V.V. Andreev. Balalaika solo.
08. "The Peddlers", Russian folk song
09. "Evreiskiy Tanets", Jewish wedding dance with Candle (Russian: «Еврейский танец со свечкой»)
10. "Russian Alphabet", short lesson of Russian language.
11. "You Tricked Me" Ukrainian folk song and dance (Russian: «Пидманула»)
12. "Barynya", Russian folk dance lesson and workshop for all students («Урок русского народного танца»)
13. "Chardash", balalaika solo (instrumental)
14. "The Moon is Shining Brightly", dance of Russian Bear
Russian ethnomusicologist, singer, musician, Artistic Director and Founder of Barynya ensemble Mikhail Smirnov led the performance by giving a short explanation of every number of the program in English. He talked briefly about costumes, folk instruments, Russian traditions, explained the difference between Russian and English alphabet, and performed Russian tongue-twisters. Musical director of the group Elina Karokhina performed a few solos on Russian folk instrument balalaika and several dance numbers.
Elina Karokhina 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. She 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. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world. 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 six concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Both Elina Karokhina and Mikhail Smirnov are members of Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya (established in 1991). The Barynya is available for hire for performing art centers, school assemblies, festivals, colleges, libraries, concert halls, restaurants, private and corporate events as one powerful ensemble or in smaller groups.