Sasha & Borya

The short-winded story:


Sasha & Borya Live in San Diego

Sasha plays “Balalaika”, if you’re unfamiliar with this traditional Russian fretted stringed instrument, it’s shocking. Three strings; two of them nylon, tuned to the same pitch. A third string, steel, kinda the melody string, and the nylon strings are like the accompaniment side. Oh and by the way, he plays with his thumb, trills and all…

Borya plays the “button accordion”, no keys, just lined with buttons on both sides of the instrument, and they all look the same….at least to me….

Now you should know these recordings are live, no overdubs or edits. We cut twenty some odd sides in an afternoon,,,all real playing, real music, real talent.!!!

How’d they get so good?

Together on board ship in the Russian Navy, and conservatory trained as students. These guys shred… and the depth of their skill and emotional performing makes these recordings a joy to listen to over and over again…

How in the world did you connect with these guys Chris?

Now for the long-winded story:

A local senior, customer of mine called me and asked if I could refret a Balalaika? He explained that He and some friends had sponsored a trip enabling Sasha & Borya to visit San Diego. They had been here a few years earlier while still in the navy, and these nice folks had heard them playing in Bal boa Park, and we so impressed with them as authentic Russian Folk Artists that they sponsored a trip for them to return…Sasha needed frets and I was fortunate enough to get the call to help him out…

One of the sponsors dropped the instrument off at my shop and I went to work…

I was eager to meet the owner and hear what the balalaika sounded like with someone who knew how to play it..

I had no idea what I was about to see and hear. Sasha, a very likeable, smiling, warm-hearted guy, who incidentally didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak Russian said hello with his smile and friendly greeting. Then, he picks up the instrument off my bench and after a little fine tuning,,shreds a few high-octane Russian folk music and classical riffs. I couldn’t believe the chording and the single note playing..I was speechless….

Through an interpreter I asked if they had done any recording? No not really,,,so I humbly invited them to be my guest in the studio and do a little recording. They agreed,,,a day or two later we were in the studio recording the collection from which these samples are selected.

Track 01. "Carousel"
Track 02. "Felt Boots"