No Comments on Balalaika


Last weekend we were treated to the annual International Festival at the Morton Arboretum. While others lined up at the “International” food booths (Chicago dogs, Buffalo wings, Texas barbeque, and New York thin crust pizza) Hali and I took advantage of the world class music and dance. And my biggest take away from this festival was the music played on the balalaika.


The balalaika is a Russian stringed instrument with just three strings. It’s typical triangular body with the 2nd and 3rd strings tuned to E and the first string to A simply fascinated us. The balalaika this Russian gal from St. Petersburg played was made in 1936 and she is one of the top players of this instrument in the world. The other guitar instrument played by this fella was made in China in 2016. He was the comic of the pair.

My favorite number was the classic Lara’s Theme from the film Dr. Zhivago. Easy to tell she is one of the best in the world on just three strings and two notes.


She also showed off some of her traditional Russian folk costumes and dance which is still an important part of Russian culture and we were happy to be part of it.

This duo is so well renown they will be performing with the Russian National Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in a week. Very entertaining and the hit of the festival for us. The Russian dancers lacked the enthusiasm and the Celtic band was as green as the the relish on this Chicago dog.


Next time I’ll try something more “International”~~ Texas BBQ.


About Woody

The travel bug is contagious. I caught it in 1985 while traveling with Hali on a three month backpacking trip through Western Europe. Having a passion for geography, local history & culture, and with a journal in my back pocket, I hope to share our experiences through this blog – whether traveling the well worn rail, or off the beaten trail.

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