Responding to Leonid Kharitonov’s 2010 New Year’s greetings on his web site, which includes a video of his 1969 New Year’s Eve performance of Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl, the fans from the Japanese musical group “Polyanochka” (The Glade, photo on the right) in turn greet Leonid Kharitonov with best wishes for the 2010 New Year and perform their version of the Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl song as a gift in his honor in this video, which they recently posted on their YouTube channel.
Being fans of the Alexandrov Ensemble and of Leonid Kharitonov, these nice people organized the “Polyanochka” group and perform Soviet patriotic and Russian folk songs from the Ensemble’s repertoire. The name of the group came from the famous folk song of the Alexandrov Ensemble — “At the Sunny Glade” (“На солнечной поляночке”). The group consists of four members – two male soloists and two female accompanists on accordion and keyboards. Sometimes other musicians help them.
They have taken their stage names from their idols in the Ensemble – for example, the name of the first soloist and leader of the group is “Bukreev” (aka “Mikhail Frunze). Mr. “Bukreev” once attended a concert by the Ensemble in 1976. Since then, he decided to learn Russian so that he could sing these songs in their native language. He is also a well-known military historian with a particular interest in World War II. That is why he so loves to perform songs of those years. The woman who plays the accordion knows and can play by heart more than a thousand songs from the repertoire of this Russian military ensemble. This group is fairly well known, especially among the Russian community in Tokyo. Currently they give periodic concerts in the Japanese capital and beyond.
We must pay tribute to these remarkable people because they are really seriously fascinated with the creative works of this famous Russian ensemble. In addition to the huge number of songs of the Alexandrov Ensemble in their repertoire, they, along with friends, have their own website, an Internet forum, where there is assembled a vast collection of audio CDs of the Ensemble, as well as interesting information about its main soloists. The organizer of this site is called “Gavva”, a name also taken in honor of one of the soloists of the Ensemble. On the site, of course, is a page dedicated to Leonid Kharitonov. It should be noted that they and their information greatly assisted us in building a complete discography of L. Kharitonov for that period. Their information about the discography of the Alexandrov Ensemble was also used in the English version of the global Internet encyclopedia “Wikipedia”, as mentioned earlier on this site.
Although Leonid Kharitonov has never been on tour in Japan, he was honored to perform for the former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Yasuhiro Nakasone at the invitation of Ambassador Sumio Edomuro. This took place on New Year’s Eve in the Japanese Embassy in Moscow in December 1990 (left).
Leonid Kharitonov and the administrators of this site appreciate this New Year’s gift from Polyanochka. In response, we would like to thank all fans of Leonid Kharitonov in Japan for their support and love for Russian music. Most recently, Leonid Mikhailovich personally asked us to say that he had seen this video, and that he liked it. He also asked to personally thank Mr. “Frunze”, the leader of the group, for the New Year’s greetings and performance of this wonderful song in his honor. He was also very pleased to know that Russian folk and patriotic songs enjoy such great popularity in Japan even today.