Moscow street musician Sergey Sadov: Arbat’s most famous busker


One winter I was playing here on Arbat Street, and a blues festival was taking place in Moscow. Some musicians from the festival were standing in front of me with bodyguards and translators. They asked me how I could play so well when it was -15 C. I’ve been playing on Arbat Street for 15 years now. And before that I’d been playing for 25 years across Russia and abroad. When you spend 40 years living independently, you re not only a musician, but a martial artist. My music is a mysterious mix of Eastern and Russian cultures. This instrument is unique. I invented and built it myself. And I compose my own melodies. I’ve always wanted to have one instrument instead of ten. I naively thought that I could embody many instruments in one. But I can let you in on a secret: everything depends on your playing technique. If I play the instrument like a balalaika, you ll hear a balalaika. Because I can play all these instruments, including the balalaika, the domra and others. I use the same techniques for my instrument. You can’t invent something that s not in your head. The idea is not about the instrument, but about living independently. It’s about the ability to sit and play as long as you want There are a lot of things in my life apart from busking on Arbat. I play at festivals, corporate events, etc. The street means I don t have to look for a job. The worst thing is when a musician or a person loses interest in their profession and life. Then people around start to lose interest in them, I still have a huge interest in what I do, as much as when I was 16. The most interesting thing is when you play on the street you never know how it s going to end.