Magic Violin represents its first background story for a piece called Gipsy Mood & Säkkijärvi.
At times I felt like classical music studies were too boring and narrow minded …I desired to learn the “gipsy way” of performing music, to reveal the secrets tunes and traditions of those bohemian fellows with gleamy eyes and broad smiles 🙂 Luckily I had a chance to know some Russian gipsies after visiting St.Petersbourg and meeting street musicians. They were easy to find and they seemed friendly, outgoing and very skilled performers! and they liked to wear a lot of glitter 😀
It happened that we became friends and started to play as a band, finding a great balance and exchange of ideas in making music. We would introduce traditional tunes to each other for getting to know our countries and cultures from both sides. They taught me some Russian Gipsy tunes – and there were more to it than just Black Eyes! In fact their repertoire was amazingly beautiful and large, and it all had to be learned by ear, in absence of written documents :/
So we played one night in a restaurant, and in came tall and gloomy visitors bearing black suits and earhpones. They looked like – well, mafia. And we were sure about it at a point when we, after 2,5 hrs of playing, yearned for a break, taking seats in the refreshing room dreaming of a glass of water. The restaurant boss swiftly came over, told us to go back on stage because his guests prefer to enjoy the live music nonstop! Well, we didn’t want to argue at that point so we continued to play, which made the guests very happy, and they started to bring booze for guys and flowers for the girls in the band! Finally most of our band was so drunk they were swaying with their guitars and could hardly stand on their legs.
Towards the late night we then blended all the music we could think of, having played our repertoire already twice, wandering from a tune to another, expecting that at some point we may stop and have some food! Our singer then asked for instrumental piece, to give his voice a rest, handing the solo for me. Out of blue, I started to play Hungarian Dance Nr 5 by J.Brahms (which in fact has been claimed to be composed by gipsies once it first appeared!), but feeling dizzy I feared I wouldn’t make it through the fast turns and tempo changes until the end. So, after the first theme I suddenly switched to Säkkijärven polkka, a Finnish traditional tune, to get an exit from the virtuosic passages! however, some of our players didn’t know the polka, so they in turn switched soon to a Russian traditional melody! Like this the medley developped and finally I felt like it’s time to return to Brahms, taking over with the main theme again…
The Men in Black were overwhelmingly grateful and poured their entire vocabulary of praise to our ears and also to the satisfied head of restaurant…They said they never heard a band as brilliant as our band anywhere else.
In the current version of the medley, named as Gipsy Mood & Säkkijärvi, playing by my side are scorching balalaika virtuoso Pavel Fedorov from SPB, Russia and Juha Lanu from Finland, an excellent and renowned guitarist and a good friend.