about via romen

Romany (Gypsy) music and dance ensemble
From Around The World

The Romany (Gypsy) musical legacy is most notably characterized by its clever synthesis of known musical genres with the lesser known or unknown. Via Romen is the embodiment of this legacy, of lacing tradition with novelty and offering unprecedented interpretations of that which we already know. Their music and dances, rooted in Russian-Romany tradition, enchant audiences with intricate improvisations, catchy tunes, and flashy footwork.

Founded in 2004 by the virtuoso Russian-Romany guitarist, vocalist and dancer Vadim Kolpakov. Via Romen has performed to glowing reviews across North America and has established itself as the continent’s premier Russian-Romany (Gypsy) group.

Romany Music is a new style, the original creation of Via Romen members. Drawn from a vast repertoire originating in Eastern and Western Europe and enriched by jazz, Jewish, and Latino styles, this music is modern, innovative, fresh and often deeply emotional.

The Via Romen band consists of Vadim Kolpakov (Russian seven-string guitar, dance and vocals), Arkadiy Gips (violin and backup vocals), and Eugenia Zolotariova (lead vocals). In addition, Via Romen features dancer and choreographer Marina Shanefelter and other guest artists.

Two of the performers, Vadim Kolpakov and Arkadiy Gips, were part of Madonna;Sticky and Sweet2008/2009 world tour as members of the Kolpakov Trio (video from the tour).

about us

Vadim Kolpakov

Vadim Kolpakov (founder and artistic director of the Via Romen ensemble) is a vir­tuoso Russian-Romany (Gypsy) seven-string gui­tarist, dancer and vocalist . A graduate of the Ro­many performing arts school Gilori, he studied guitar with his uncle and mentor Alexander Kol­pakov in Moscow. At the age of 15, Vadim joined the Moscow Romen Gypsy Theater as a guitarist, vocalist, dancer and dramatic actor. Since then, Vadim has performed extensively in Russia and abroad; he has given concerts in Carnegie Hall (New York City) as well as in the Kremlin (Moscow). He has partici­pated in numerous musical projects on Russian, Canadian, Finnish and American television and radio. He was an artist-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2006-2007. In 2008-2009, Vadim Kolpakov went on tour with Madonna as a performer in her "Sticky & Sweet" world tour. In addition to being the founder of Via Romen, Vadim performs in the ensemble Zingaresca and as a special guest with various U.S. artists and bands. His musical rep­ertoire includes Russian- and Romany-style compositions by Alex­ander Kolpakov, 19th-century Russian seven-string guitar repertoire, and his own compositions and improvisations on Romany, Russian, classical, rap and world music.

Arkadiy Gips

Arkadiy Gips (violin, backup vocals) has been making a powerful mark on the American mu­sic scene ever since he emigrated from Ukraine in 1994. Being a laureate of many national and in­ternational music competitions, Gips became a well-known violinist in Eastern Europe. Arkadiy has performed with many noted musicians, playing a wide variety of music ranging from jazz and country to ethnic and classical styles.

After founding and performing with Amaz­ing Strings for many years, Gips and the trio released their first CD, Yidishe Soul. In collaboration with guitarist Neil Jacobs and bassist John Douglas, Arkadiy was featured on “American Gypsy,” nominat­ed for AIMA Album of the Year. Dialogue, a duet consisting of Gips and pianist/composer Mikhail Popov, has been known nationwide for their dynamically rhythmic self-titled debut and energetic live performances.

Today, Arkadiy Gips continues to embrace his love for music and his culture. He and world-renowned seven-string guitar­ist Vadim Kolpakov have been performing Romany music for audi­ences in the USA and Canada. More recently, Arkadiy was invited to perform in Madonna’s “Sticky and Sweet” tour as part of the Kolpa­kov Trio, gracing audiences worldwide and adding new colors to a previously unexplored genre.


Eugenia Zolotariova

(lead vocals) is a multi-lingual professional Romani (Gypsy) singer. She performs solo and with Via Romen. She also performs with several Russian artists including the New York-based Russian folk ensemble Barynya, led by Mikhail Smirnov. Originally from the former USSR Republic of Moldova, Eugenia was born in a Romani family of performers. Eugenia’s natural talent was observed at an early age, and her family saw that she acquire training in Western classical music at the Conservatory of Music from Chishinau. There she earned her degree in Western European classical vocal arts, and at the same time began her professional career singing Romani, Russian and Romanian folk repertoire.

Marina Shanefelter

(dance) is a professional dancer, choreographer and instructor, originally from Estonia. Marina specializes in Flamenco, Latin and Russian-Romany (Gypsy) dances. She has performed in countries such as Russia, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Canada and the US. Since moving to the US she has taught and performed with the Carolinas Latin Dance Company, participated with the Charlotte Salsa Dance Company and Argentinean Tango Society, and created choreography for companies such as Opera Carolina and others. Currently Marina performs with the US-based ensemble Via Romen and teaches in her private studio in Charlotte, NC.