I've produced an arrangement of a Russian solo, "Ах ты, берёза" (Ah you, birch tree) arranged (or composed) by Pavel Necheporenko. Stylistically, it follows the Russian BMG tradition of producing virtuosic arrangements of folk melodies in the quest for "national" music, such as the famous arrangements by Andreev and Troyanovsky. This is the first banjo part, with a piano or 2nd banjo part in the works.


It is to be played very quickly, with a brisk galop rhythm. I have replaced a few figures with banjo effects, and the resulting solo is surprisingly playable on the five-stringer.

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I haven't got time to perfect/record it but if there's anyone brave enough to attempt it I'd love to listen to their attempts!

Video for reference: 

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Gosh, that looks like a young Mike Moss playing.. have you changed your name?

It really does rattle along at a pace and the musical "feint" is very funny.  I don't think that my fingers would go that fast!!

Thank you for the arrangement.

Yeah it is a very fun solo, and it is surprising that there is so much life in an instrument with but three strings spanning two and a half octaves! I haven't attempted it  on the original instrument in ages but a very effective trick to speed up the beginning was to play snaps on the 2nd and 3rd strings with the thumb while strumming the first part. If I ever manage to play the banjo arrangement I'll post a recording. I recall seeing a photograph of Tarrant Bailey Snr. dessed up like the guy in the video so there is more to the banjo-balalaika connection than meets the eye! (I suspect Comintern had a hand in it...)

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