The festival dedicated to the Russian horn in Nerekhta – presented in the theater by Ludmila Osipova – saw the participation of several music groups including “LOYKO trio”: I was intrigued by the name, and recorded some songs for my archive : they are beautiful; my only regret was not knowing the lyrics in Russian, but the music of “LOYKO trio” has been able to thrill. I also searched for information about the group’s history.

    The music of the trio and the beauty of their melody are inspired by the legend of gypsy.

    When God was distributing the land, the gypsies were sleeping and did not realize. At their awakening, all the people had already left. God replied, “I have nothing for you, I have already given everything.” “Give us something, please …” replied the gypsy. But God ignored the request and the gypsy went away sadly. They had nothing else to do, weeping for the pain, they were mortified, and they began to play their violins with such a sad melody that God had compassion and called them again. “Well, he suggested, I give you the roads; the streets are now all yours … “. Since then the gypsies have occupied the streets of the world melancholy playing their violins; so good to make you, at the same time, laugh and cry …

    The name “LOYKO”, on the other hand, dates back 300 years ago with the memory of Loyko Zobar, a famous gypsy violinist; he played so well that animals came out of the forest to listen to him.

    The painful message of the fairy tale and the nostalgic notes of Loyko Zobar’s violin inviting animals to leave the forest survive today in a distant descendant, Sergey Erdenko, who in 1990 founded the “trio” in London by giving the trio his name. Erdenko is considered one of the top five gypsy musicians in the world; he has played the violin since the age of four. Two years later he was on stage with his older brother Nikolay.

    The “legendary” band is now complemented by Arthur Gorbenko (violinist) and Michael Savichev (guitarist); they are so good to be famous over the Russian borders.

    Arthur Gorbenko was born in Leningrad in a family of professional musicians. He grew up listening to the music of George Frideric Handel, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson Arthur and wrote music for theatrical performances.

    I was fortunate enough to personally meet guitarist Michael Savichev during Neznanovo Village’s “merrymaking” and with him I had a brief conversation in great friendship. He was born in Siberia, where he studied classical guitar at the State Conservatory of Novosibirsk; he has had experience in Spain where, especially in Seville and Cordoba, he “immersed” in flamenco, collaborating with the best gypsy musicians. Those who listen to him immediately understand his particular musical connection with Spain. Michael considers Paco de Lucia the most able flamenco guitarist and, above all, his mentor.

    In the past the trio had a different composition but the music message has always confirmed continuity in a fusion of great individual experience; indeed, the critics claimed that there was “a union of two Paganini accompanied by Segovia” in the trio. Nice satisfaction for everyone. Just observing and listening to “LOYKO trio” in the performance at the Theater of Nerekhta I was reminded of the romantic music of Paganini and the memory of Andrés Segovia I listened to “live” at the Teatro “La Fenice” in Venice in one of her last concerts in 1987, before dying.
    In the rhythms of “LOYKO trio” there is a coexistence and an amalgam between Russian, classical, jazz and flamenco gypsy music that have contributed to transforming traditional ethnic music into a worldwide cultural heritage. In this progress I was able to listen to three CDs recorded at different times of their experience and their live music at Nerekhta.

    In the first cd I listened to, released in 2008, the formation of the trio is high but different from the current one and the music is more closely related to the ethnic tradition.
    The songs have to be heard several times to be better understood, and so I did, but those who strike immediately are still numerous, including “Drunk”, “Star”, “Chardash”, “Once Again I hear”, “Your green eyes”, “A Gypsyan vengerka”, “Mardzhanzha”, “Do not tell me these words”. Each piece represents a pensive tribute to tradition and, in particular, to the world of guitars and it is known that this kind of music hits the heart. That is why when you listen to the music of “LOYKO trio” you will experience different new feelings and emotions – depending on your mood of the moment – as it was always the first time.

    The second cd dates back to 2010; here the external influences appear more apparent because the trio has put more improvement in the path of innumerable roads to enrich not only of gitana history; roads that – especially for Savichev – are the ones that mainly lead to flamenco. The same gypsies, going around the world, are pervaded by feelings that necessarily affect their indole. The title of the cd – “The cold wind” – in keeping with the history of the guitars, has been able to sum up the maturation of the three musicians: “To play original music, you have to be constantly on the road, on the move, be a nomad, Gitans offering the best live education “. They add: “Every song sung and the instrumental piece of this album is a little story about us, our travels, our trio identity.” In this cd, the songs that most strike the attention are: “Kalina”, “Loyko”, “Day and Night”, “The cold wind”, “Snow storm”, “Sad Angel”, “Fiddler on the bike”, “Vanenok”.

    Taking the inspiration from the experience of the guitars, the third album – made by Erdenko, Gorbenko and Savichev in 2016 – associates to them the life of us all “on the move”, to create musical pieces of understanding welcome to a wider audience. It is also the most mature and most international CD, where Erdenko’s voice reaches its optimum. As always of high quality music I can not imagine whether the new composition of the group influences some particular aspect. The title – “Life on the Road” – is particularly suitable for this evolution and the songs are very very beautiful and “elegant”; however I like to remember the following: Nevechernyaya, Fun violin, Moldova, Isyis graya; especially the first and last song in the collection – Malyarkitsaka and Gelem – are of a kindness, I would say fabulous to hear several times. However, even in this cd, the trio does not forget to represent the feelings of a population Erdenko claims to be the descendant of Loyko Zobar.

    Through virtuosism and absolute mastery demonstrated by Erdenko, Gorbenko and Savichev with their instruments, the performance of Nerekhta was a perfect synthesis of the music of “LOYKO trio” which enchanted the audience, to whom it sent a great feeling of wellness; this is the purpose of music. For me it has been one of the most original shows of recent years, also because – as a sociologist – interest in ethnic minorities always pays particular attention and curiosity. It would be great to hear the entire historical repertoire of the trio …

    “LOYKO trio” now lives in St. Petersburg and performs on stage throughout Europe: Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Budapest, London, Dublin, Vienna, Moscow; is admired by the most sophisticated audience for mastery, virtuosity and uniqueness. “LOYKO trio” has collaborated with world-renowned musicians such as guitarist Ronald David “Ronnie” Wood (Rolling Stones), violinists Yehudi Menuhin, Gidon Kremer and late Stéphane Grappelli. In short, European journalists have shown “LOYKO trio” an irreplaceable member of the world music elite, representing Russia at the 38th Folk Festival in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. I hope to meet soon “LOYKO trio” also in Italy.

    Rocco Turi, sociologist, Budapest