Pio Past: Tziganka visits campus

For almost 120 years, The Pioneer has reported on news from the Whitman campus and surrounding community. Pio Past pulls old articles from past decades from the Penrose Library archives to give modern readers a glimpse of campus history.

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

Originally printed Oct. 24, 1991

Press Release

Tziganka,” a Russian gypsy music and dance company, came together in London in 1975 to form this unique ensemble, and since then they have delighted audiences throughout Britain, Europe, the United States, Canada and China with dazzling performances of Russian song and dance. As one of few Russian folk music and dance company based in the West, “Tziganka” is distinguished not only by its high musical standard and authenticity of both style and material, but also by the fact that it lays special stress on the Russian Gypsy song – as implicit in the name of the group – meaning “Gypsy Girl.”

The group offers a variety of folk dances from all parts of the Soviet Union, ranging from lyrical Russian to spectacular Cossack leaping, and from intricately stepped Moldavian to wild and fearsome Georgian foot-stomping – all in beautiful regional costume. This stunning display of song and dance is replete with virtuoso performances on Russian folk instruments – the balalaika (a three-stringed triangular instrument) and the bayan (a Russian accordion).

The Director of “Tziganka,” Bibs Ekkel, is considered by many to be the greatest balalaika virtuoso outside of Russia. He has appeared in several television programs and performed with guitat, balalaika orchestras, and symphonies, in addition to leading “Tziganka” since its formation in 1975.

Faina Zinova has taken the public by storm with her dazzling performance of Gypsy songs, for which she was famous back in her native Russia. Fast becoming known as the “Russian Piaf”, her songs range from soulful, melancholy melodies of the Gypsy’s eternal wandering in search of happiness to the songs of carefree merry-making. She was the inspiration for the name “Tziganka,” or “Gypsy Girl.” Cossack dancers also tour with the company throughout Europe and the United States.

Tziganka has several records on the Decca label, and has toured half the world with resounding success. The company just completed a series of concerts in the Republic of China and is now embarking upon their tenth extended tour of the United States.

Performing in Cordiner Hall on the 25 of October at 8:00 p.m., “Tzinganka will fire your imagination with spectacular, acrobatic dancing. Tickets are seven dollars general, six dollars senior citizens five dollars students. For further information, call Marcy Grigsby, Director of Public Events, at 527-5157.