Russian Gypsy Music: The Best Instrumentals

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Discover the best Russian Gypsy Music instrumentals. From the fast-paced and upbeat to the slow and soulful, this genre has something for everyone.

What is Russian Gypsy Music?

Russian Gypsy music is a unique blend of Russian and Romani music. It is characterized by fast-paced, often improvisational, tunes played on a variety of traditional instruments. The most common instruments used in Russian Gypsy music are the balalaika, accordion, and violin.

The origins of Russian Gypsy music are unclear, but it is thought to have arisen in the early 19th century when Romani people began migrating to Russia from other parts of Europe. Russian Gypsy music quickly gained popularity among both Romani and non-Romani people, and by the early 20th century it was being performed by some of the most famous Russian composers, including Alexander Borodin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

While Russian Gypsy music has undergone some changes over the years, it has maintained its popularity and continues to be enjoyed by people all over the world.

The Best Russian Gypsy Music Instrumentals

Russian Gypsy music is some of the most beautiful and moving music in the world. The best Russian Gypsy music instrumentals are soulful and haunting, and they can transport you to another place and time. If you’re looking for the best Russian Gypsy music instrumentals, you’ll find them in this collection.


“Kalinka” (Russian: Калинка) is a Russian folk song written in 1860 by the composer and folklorist Ivan Larionov. The song is about a young girl, Kalinka, who is pickled to death by her stepmother. “Kalinka” has been recorded by many artists including Rimsky-Korsakov, Kseniya Simonova, and Boney M..

“Dark Eyes”

Originally, “Dark Eyes” was a popular song composed by Ukrainian composer Sergey Winnik entitled “I Will Not Forget You, My Darling”. The song became a hit across Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, before becoming a staple of Russian Gypsy music. Many different artists have covered “Dark Eyes” over the years, but the most famous version is probably that of Russian violinist and bandleader Sasha Gusov, who recorded the song in the 1950s.


“Moskau” is a classic Russian gypsy music instrumental. It was composed by Dmitri Shostakovich and is one of the most popular gypsy music tunes.

“The Lonely Accordion”

The accordion is a mainstay in Russian gypsy music, and for good reason — the instrument has a unique and haunting sound that really sets the mood for a song. “The Lonely Accordion” is a great example of this, with the accordion playing a slow and melancholic melody that really tugs at the heartstrings. This song is sure to make you feel nostalgic for a time and place you may never have even been to.

“The Gypsy’s Wedding”

“The Gypsy’s Wedding” is one of the most popular and well-known Russian Gypsy music instrumentals. It was composed by Vasily Andreevich Solomakhin in 1892 and is based on a folk song about a young gypsy woman who elopes with a young man from another tribe.

The composition has been famously performed by many famous Russian musicians, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Yuri Temirkanov. It remains a popular choice for wedding ceremonies and other special occasions in Russia.

The History of Russian Gypsy Music

Gypsy music is a style of music that originated in Eastern Europe among the Romani people. The music is typically considered to be lively and upbeat, and it often features fast-paced rhythms. Gypsy music has been popular in Russia for centuries, and it has played an important role in the country’s cultural history.


The origins of Russian Gypsy music are somewhat unclear. Some say that it is a direct descendant of the music of the Roma people, who migrated to Russia from India in the Middle Ages. Others believe that it is a fusion of Roma and Slavic traditions. Whatever its origins, Russian Gypsy music has become a uniquely Russian form of expression.

Gypsy music was long associated with beggars and outlaws, and was looked down upon by the upper classes. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that Russian Gypsy music began to be taken seriously by the general public. Composer Mikhail Glinka was one of the first to champion Gypsy music, incorporating it into his own works.

By the early 20th century, Russian Gypsy music had become quite popular, with bands touring throughout Europe and America. Many famous classical musicians, including Sergei Rachmaninoff and Sergei Prokofiev, were inspired by Gypsy music and incorporated it into their own compositions.

During the Soviet era, Russian Gypsy music was discouraged, as it was seen as a symbol of bourgeois decadence. However, it continued to be enjoyed in private settings, and many Soviet musicians continued to be influenced by its sound. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Russian Gypsy music, both inside and outside of Russia.

The Golden Age

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Russian Gypsy music reached its Golden Age. This was a time when the music flourished and was enjoyed by people of all social classes. The most famous Gypsy musicians of this time period were Ivan Pavlov, Vasily Andreyev, Alexander Fyodorov and Sergei Muromtsev. These musicians took Russian Gypsy music to new heights, infusing it with elements of classical, jazz and folk music. Their performances were filled with energy and enthusiasm, which captivated audiences around the world.

The Golden Age of Russian Gypsy music came to an abrupt end with the onset of World War I. This devastating conflict had a profound impact on the lives ofGypsies, as many were forced to flee their homes or were conscripted into military service. The years that followed were ones of great hardship for the Gypsy community, but their music continued to bring joy to those who heard it.

Modern Russian Gypsy Music

Since the early 20th century, Russian Romani music has undergone something of a golden age. In the years following the October Revolution of 1917, many members of the Romani community were able to pursue music full-time, and were no longer reliant on casual gigs and busking to make a living. This newfound stability allowed them to develop their sound and approach to playing.

One of the most important figures in early 20th century Russian Romani music was Ivanusingh Vanoosti (1883-1965), known as “Ivanushka the Terrible”. Vanoosti was a self-taught musician who played both piano and violin, and is credited with helping to develop the “Gypsy Improvisation” style of playing. This style was based on the notion of continuous melodic development, rather than simply playing a sequence of unrelated melodies. This approach helped give Russian Romani music a more cohesive sound, and allowed for greater creativity and expression on the part of the performers.

In addition to Vanoosti, other important early 20th century Russian Romani musicians included violinists Vasily Andreev (1884-1961) and Pavel Butyagin (1886-1942), as well as pianist Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936). These four men were responsible for helping to establish Russian Romani music as its own distinct genre, separate from other types of Gypsy music that were popular at the time.

While Russian Romani music continued to be popular in the years after World War II, it experienced something of a decline in popularity during the Soviet era. This was due in part to increased government restrictions on artistic expression, as well as a general move away from traditional forms of music in favor of more modern styles. Nonetheless, there were still some notable performers during this period, including Nikolai Izotov (1917-1981) and Boris Kobrynets (1913-1993).

Since the fall of communism in 1991, there has been a renewed interest in Russian Romani music, both within Russia and abroad. This has led to a new generation of performers who are keeping this unique musical tradition alive. Some of the most notable contemporary Russian Romani musicians include Oleg Ponomarev (b. 1966), Mikhail Smirnov (b. 1960), and Sergei Erdenko (b. 1978).

Similar Posts