Jerry Brunner, Bruce Gilbert and Cyndi Craven are Just Be’Cause … just don’t ask them why. Jerry Brunner and Cyndi Craven, long-time members of the Atlanta acoustic/folk music scene, have been performing together since the 1980’s. In 2007, they met up with Bruce Gilbert when he moved to Atlanta from California where he’d been wowing the music scene there for years. The music they produce together is the result of profound friendship, heaping helpings of creativity, and decades of playing, singing and writing together and on their own. Their shows have been described by fans as an evening of “comfort music” with vocal “harmonies that will roll your socks down.” Come hear for yourself!
The six musicians of Balalaika Fantasie draw their inspiration from their life-long passion for Russian folk music and their diverse cultural backgrounds. Performing on authentic Russian folk instruments, the group’s repertoire includes Russian, Ukrainian, Gypsy and Jewish folk music.
Angelina Galashenkova-Reed (domra) has toured the world as a soloist with the Andreyev Russian Folk Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Russia, performing with them at Carnegie Hall’s 100th anniversary. A virtuoso of the three-string domra, she is a winner of Russia’s prestigious “Cup of the North” competition, and holds the title of “Laureate of International Competitions of Professional Folk Artists.” Immigrating to the U.S. in 2001, she has had numerous solo appearances, most notably at Spivey Hall, and is the concertmaster and domra soloist of the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra. Angelina performs in the domra-guitar duo, 9 String Theory.
David C. Cooper (balalaika, domra, vocals) has been recognized by Russian virtuosi for his artistry as a balalaika soloist. Pennsylvania-born, Mr. Cooper is an authority on Russian folk instruments (he plays them all), studied conducting and performance at the Glier Institute of Kiev, Ukraine, and is the artistic director and conductor of the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra. Mr. Cooper’s diverse talents also make him in demand in jazz, Klezmer and steel drum ensembles.
Alla Melnik (bayan, vocals) is a Ukrainian-born bayan soloist who received her music degree from the Kiev University of Arts and Culture. She has performed and taught bayan, music theory and piano throughout Ukraine. Alla has a vast repertoire of folk, classical and popular music, frequently appearing in concerts and festivals. She frequently performs bayan solos with the Atlanta Balalaika Society.
Gregory Carageorge has been a professional contrabass balalaika and string bass player for over thirty years, performing in numerous ethnic music groups such as the Berkeley, CA based Klezmorim and Troika Balalaikas, The Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival, and several very popular touring Greek folk music bands. He was the leader of the house band at New York’s Russian Tea Room, and has appeared with numerous folk, bluegrass, and jazz ensembles.
Irene Perloff McCullough (alto domra) and David McCullough (alto balalaika) have performed in Russian folk music ensembles in Boston and Detroit and Atlanta, and perform together as the balalaika-guitar duo, “Russian Romance.” All musicians of Balalaika Fantasie are members of the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra.
Don’t miss these great performances!