Flying Balalaika Brothers

Flying Balalaika Brothers

Texas Platters

Flying Balalaika Brothers

With their ongoing Monday night Red Army Surrender Jam at Ruta Maya, the Flying Balalaika Brothers have proven commanding gypsy punks. Those sprawling, weekly marathons can include up to nine members, but the Soviet expatriates' self-titled debut was recorded by its core trio – Zhenya Kolykhanov, Sergey Vashchenko, Aleksander Kouznetzov – with emphasis on the balalaika, a triangular stringed instrument of Russian origin that sounds strikingly similar to a banjo. The result is rich with old European street charm ("Kuma," "Tsygan Shukara"), Middle Eastern folk ("Ashkhabad"), and brushfire Americana (the Leeann Atherton-guested "Thank You"). Whispered bluegrass lament "Can't Leave This Way" – one of only three songs in English – would benefit from getting lost in translation, but standout "Cumbia de la Carretera" proves these Brothers deserve a place in Austin's new world order.

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