Street Accordionist Plays Vivaldi

There should to be a way to put money into his hat over the internet!

But who is this guy?

Years ago I saw a PBS documentary about a professional orchestra. There is a scene where orchestra members happen by a guy sitting on the sidewalk, I think in a Metro station. The guy was just sitting in a lotus position against the wall, head bowed, only his hands moving. He is sitting there, playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons like there’s no tomorrow. Just whaling away on that magic box. The juxtaposition of these professional musicians watching this street musician modestly making magic as others walk past. The music bigger than everything around it. It was very moving.

I had tried to find out who he was a few times with no success. So the other day I got curious again and searched YouTube for accordion players playing Vivaldi and found the above video.

But this video did not identify the artist! I had to know if this was the same guy I had seen years previously on the PBS documentary.

I was determined. I searched on [orchestra career documentary violinist accordion vivaldi “four seasons”]. That landed me at a blog entry in Neil’s Journal that talks about the documentary “Music From the Inside Out” (2003) and singles out the scene with the accordion player. The blog pointed to a YouTube video of that person playing Bach. It was a different video than the one I had found but the street musician looked very much like the same guy. It identified him as Ruslan Slinko. I carefully compared the videos and am sure this is Ruslan Slinko.

Other YouTube video of Ruslan Slinko playing Bach:

Thanks to YouTube and the Web, I found out who the accordion player was who had moved me so long ago. And now I know where to go to see him perform live and put money into his hat.

18 thoughts on “Street Accordionist Plays Vivaldi”

  1. Ruslan Slinko moved me too at the last week of June in 2000 in Nice. We were there for a holiday and we spent also my mother’s 70 years birthday. At the evenings we dined in the old town and after that we walked through the Cours Saleya a flower market, to the Quai des Etats Unis at the sea. Ruslan was there every night, under a little underpass tunnel, playing Sergei Rahmaninoffs Vocalise, a composition I heard first time then and got falling in love with it. When I hear the song today I remember my mother’s birthday, the sun sets at the sea and I got tears in my eyes. There was always some alcoholics,clochards near him but when he started to play they were quiet and concentrated to listen at him. I bought a CD from Ruslan and I can listen him here at home. WE came back to Nice two years later but he was not there any more. Does anybody know where is the metro station he plays nowadays? It would be great to hear him again.

  2. Where does Ruslan Slinko play today?
    I saw Ruslan ten years ago, at the last week of June in 2000, in Nice, French Riviera. We were there for celebrating my mother’s birthday. We dined almos every night in the Old town. After that we walked through the Flower Market “Cours Saleya” to the sea side. Between Cours Saleya and Quai des Etats-Unis, the sea side boulevard in the front of the Old town, there is a low building you have to pass by a some kind of pedestrian tunnel, or under an arc that goes through this old building..
    Ruslan was there almost every night. Playing Vivaldi, Bach and especially “Vocalise” of Sergei Rahmaninoff. I heard that song first time and falled in love with it. If I hear it today I always remember that summer, those warm evenings and the play of Ruslan. There were some alcoholics, “Clochards” in the tunnel who made noise. When Ruslan started to play, one of them asked the others be quiet and they all concentrated to listen the music. Ruslan selled his CDs and I bought a one. So I can enjoy of his music at home. When we returned to Nice two years later he was not there. I wonder how he choosed to play in the street. In the Cd there is a text about him. He was born in 1972 in Zvenigorodka in Ukraine. From 1992 to 1997 he studied in Haupfach Bajan, Bandeon (or in National Music Academie in Kiew, I am not sure, the text is in German). So he is a trained musician.
    But where does he play today? If somebody knows please tell!

  3. I also saw him in Nice and was mesmorized by his play. I aslo bought a CD from him. Since I speak German I can explain the German text.
    It says: Ruslan studied at the National Music Academie in Kiew under the famous Solist Professor Pawel Fenjuk. He studied “Bajan Bandeon im Hauptfach” which means that ukrainian Bajan Bandeon was his main subject.
    Unfortunately, I have not seen him since….

  4. My dad and I went to Bern over the weekend.. walking throughout the city we where captured by an unusual use of the accordion. there he was, genius.

  5. I saw him 5 years ago in Barcelona and loved the way he played. I missed to buy the CD.. Does anyone know a way to get a hold of it?

  6. We just got back to the US last week. We saw him playing in front of the cathedral in Barcelona beginning of October. We were mesmerized by his music, and decided to stop and have a drink in an outdoor cafe. We listened to him for about 45 minutes. Hard to believe all that beautiful music is coming out of one instrument played by one guy. Luckily, we bought a CD from him. Amazing!

  7. We just came across Ruslan Slinko playing outside the Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter, his amazing performance even better in the echo chamber of those ancient walls. We saw him there on a couple evenings and bought his CD. What he does with an accordion is truly remarkable.

  8. I met Ruslan nearly 20 jears ago paying on a street in Cologne. We talked about the way he is playing the bajan. He was very friendly. A few month later he wrote me a postcard. He wanted me to visit a conert, he was going to play in a church. But i was noct able to go there. I never met him again. And I feel very sad about it. But I am very happy to know, that he is still alive and playing. It´s a hard live on the road. But on Youtube he still looks very young.

    So if “J” wants to have a copy of his CD (he has only one) contact me. How? Write down your adress, or anything that makes it possible to contact you.-)

    Thomas Ungeheuer out of 65817 Eppstein (Germany)

  9. my wife and I was walking on a narrow street by the Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, heard his music from a distance, we were attracted by it like a magnet attracts a needle. We bought his CD right away, then sat and enjoyed his music until he stopped playing. no idea who he was, not heard of him or his music before, came to the hotel and googled him, found this page. His music is special, now giving life to Barcelona nights. Look for him around the Cathedral, and just follow your ears and soul…(17 Nov, 2012)

  10. We also came across Ruslan in the old quarter of Barcelona. We collected music from all over Europe and today (6/13) am sitting in my lounge in Sydney Australia in awe at the music and emotion produced by this great musician. It still brings a tear to my eye.

  11. I met him today, by the cathedral of Barcelona. I have to say, I never heard anything like that. I stayed there, just listening, mesmerized, for about 15 minutes. Then I decided I would not give him some coins, instead, I had to have his cd. When I asked how much it was, he says “about 10 euros” so I asked “…but?” to what he replies “you can pay what you think it`s worth…”
    I payed the 10 and said that he was amazing, to what he was honestly grateful! Now listening to his music I can only wonder, why isn´t this guy playing at the best theaters??? He deserves it so much!!!!!

  12. We (my husband an I) met him.
    But he wasn’t alone. Also was with him a beautiful woman (inside and out) with an amazing voice.
    She had the courtesy to interpret for us Sposa son disprezzata…a capella!
    Nothing to envay to The Bartoli.

    But, sudly, we will lose.
    They have here, the whole system against.

    This land, over more than a decade, has’nt given them a chance.

    There is no awareness of the cultural richness that they would contribute to society.
    The future of a sensitive and cultured society.

    And so, I thnk how we can help them…how we can help us to avoid losing them.

    I propose to you all, come together and do something.


    (from Argentina, living in Barcelona)

  13. GOOD NEWS, Fellow fans of Ruslan Slimko!

    The night before last, near the Zytglocke at the center of Berne, Switzerland, I and a new Catalan friend heard the amazing sound of Ruslan’s accordion playing, and I made an effort to get some change to offer him. After a delay, we went back to the spot … He was gone.

    Trying again yesterday evening, I saw, heard & spoke with him. He spoke little English, but I managed to communicate my admiration, and BOUGHT HIS CD: “Ruslan Slinko,” with a photo of the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona on the front, a small portrait photo on the back, and the following ID:
    Grabacion: Dirk Reile, Hannover
    Artwork:, Barcelona 2008

    Music totals almost 70 minutes and includes
    – Bach, Prelude and Fugue BMW 543
    – Vivaldi, Four Seasons, Summer & Winter
    – Rachmaninoff, Vocalise
    – Bach, Fantasy and Fugue
    – Saint-Saens, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (!)
    – Giovanni Battista Grazioli, Sonata in G-dur
    – Rossini, Cavatina Figaro – The Barbero of Seville

    Ruslan’s website is indicated as
    Perhaps you have all discovered this by now.

    Inside the (blank) wrapper, Ruslan wrote:
    Bern 2015
    I hope that he doesn’t mind that I share this online, among “friends.”

    Would like to send a copy of this message to him, and hope to hear back!

  14. I saw him yesterday in Bern. We were waiting for the tram and he was playing at our backs. He played sooo well. We gave him a couple of francs and went on waiting and listening. Then I went to him again and bought one of his CDs. He is selling them for 12 CHF for 12 CHF but we gave him 20. Today his music has been accompanying me for hours. Great to listen to it concentrated, great to deel it there in the back
    oorund while working, …

  15. A few days ago I heard Ruslan playing in Bern. I talked a littlebit, bought his cd.
    It’s amazing how he plays the accordion / bajan!
    The link to his website doesn’t work. Can anybody help me because I want to know more about him.

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