Svenko
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Pyotr Yanyshev

 

I was born in Sochi — could have been born in any other city though as my parents were artistes. They toured a lot so Sochi was just a coincidence. I was born in 1970 and that was the day when my traveling started. My mother told me that she used to put me into guitar foulard when she went to the stage. But it was more interesting with my sister — she had to stand in my father’s boot…

 

Gypsies

My parents, Mikhail and Tamara Yanyshevs

 

I`ve been on the stage since the age of five. Studying in Nikolay Zhemchuzhny`s group gave me a lot. I think such geniuses are born once in three centuries. He organized the celebrated ensemble, moreover he was a brilliant Romani Gypsy composer — wrote more than two hundred songs — and some of them are believed to be folk songs now.

 

 

I was a fidgety lad — couldn’t sit on one place. I liked it in the band — I got along with people easily, made acquaintance with artists and lighting designers — as I was interested in equipment — I learned to deal with it, to play drums, to paint.

I became independent very early. Once when we were on tour in Leningrad I went roaming about the city. I was not more than eight then. I saw a poster with an Indian film and decided to see it. When I came out of the cinema it was already dark outside. And of course I forgot the way back. Meanwhile the band started beating an alarm as they couldn’t find me anywhere. My mother was about to go mad… I wasn’t confused though — found a policemen and told him I was an artiste, had come on tour and got lost. They called everywhere: “Is there Gypsy band staying in your hotel?” and every time got the answer: “No, no, no”. Later they discovered that we stayed at a circus hostel.

 

Gypsy boy, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

Gypsy boy and Gypsy girl

With my sister Shura, in Zhemchuzhny’s ensemble

 

Sometimes between tours I stayed with my relatives in Cherkessk — Roma live there too, but they are not artistes. It was interesting to see barefoot girls from poor families dancing at markets or near the cinemas for coins. They had their peculiar style — jumps, steps — I noticed different manners. You know what a Gypsy band is — people from all over the country — and everyone has his / her movements — you can always learn something.

I started as a dancer, then began to play guitar and sing. Toured all over the country — there’s probably no place in Russia where I haven’t been. Hotels were very different — sometimes we stayed at such pigsties that had to cook soup in a washbasin with a boiler. But it was Zhemchuzhny with his band who was one of the first to go abroad in Soviet times. I saw Yugoslavia and Turkey then. Nowadays such tours are common, but it was cool back then… Those were good times for Gypsy artists — audience greeted us warmly. When I grew up I worked in different bands — with Yanovich, Verbitsky, Viktor Buzylyov, Buzdykhanov. When I moved to Moscow I gave concerts with such brilliant professionals as Fyodor Kondratenko, Lyalya Kalughina, the Erdenkos — and many others.

 

Gypsy man with a guitar, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

Gypsy dance

 

Some people criticize our time, but it’s now when we saw the world. I couldn’t imagine as a child that Spanish king would invite me to give concerts, that I would hear words of appreciation from president Putin and Nazarbaev or would sing for Gerhard Schroeder. I gave concerts in Japan for three months — there are no Gypsies there at all, brought home a kimono and a samurai’s sword. Now I great Japanese tourists at Moscow restaurants in there language. When I came back from Italy father-in-law was surprised to hear that I had performed at palazzo where Leonardo da Vinci himself had lived. I like Italy very much in general. And I remember some countries for communication with Gypsies — the festival in Poland was especially interesting – such concerts show how different we are — Gypsies in every country have their special folklore. It became easier for me to prepare Spanish dance numbers in the plays “Magic love” and “Viva Carmen!” after I had seen live flamenco.

Gypsy dance. Romani fest in Poland

 

video

 

I’ve been in “Romen” for six years already — first only as a singer and a dancer. Now I participate in several plays. In 2007 I was honored to represent “Romen” and won in the fifth All-Russian festival of romances. My competitors were soloists of opera houses, singers with classical music conservatory education. I managed to take grand prize having left behind 60 participants. I was the first Rom to win in such prestigious festival.

 

Viva Carmen!

As Moreno in the performance “Viva Carmen!” 2006 year.

 

Gypsy man

 

Gypsy man with a guitar

As Dado in the performance “Dancer, The Daughter Of Gypsy Tents”

 

Quasimodo

As Quasimodo in the performance “We Are Gypsies”

Gypsy dance video

Dance on a stage of “Romen”. 2005 year

 

video

 

Gypsy man with a guitar, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

Gypsy man, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

Gypsy man, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

A Gypsy man, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

 

Gypsy man, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

 

Pyotr Yanyshev

 

It’s a great pleasure for me to work in “Romen” with artistes from celebrated families. But now I feel I can organize my own team. We named our band “Svenko” (it means “a party” in our language) — and I hope our work will bring a party to people’s life.

A Gypsy man with a guitar, Pyotr Yanyshev

 

A riding Gypsy man, Pyotr Yanyshev