Vadim Kolpakov is one of the most prominent and renowned Romani (Gypsy) 7-string guitarists in the world, as well as vocalist, dancer and composer. He comes from a well-known Kolpakov music dynasty that has three generations of virtuoso guitarists. Vadim specializes in Gypsy music from Europe with the fusion of Jazz, Pop, Flamenco, Latin and other World Music. Vadim is an artistic director of Via Romen company, he runs several projects with various musicians, singers and dancers, such as Zingaresca Ensemble and VS Guitar Duo. He performs at concerts, festivals, private and corporate events, and is also known as a great guitar teacher and teaches classes online and in person.
Several times Vadim collaborated and toured worldwide with pop-icon Madonna and famous band Gogol Bordello. As part of VIA Romen band, Vadim toured with established Jewish singer, Svetlana Portnyansky in the U.S. and Israel, and recorded CD “Triple Delight”. They had many shows at the Dollywood amusement park in Tennesee and Silver Dollar City in Missouri. Vadim and VIA Romen collaborated with Balalaika Orchestra of Atlanta and Musical Connections company in Texas, and traveled to Singapore for performances.
Since 2004 as part of Zingaresca Ensemble (co-founded with Dr. Oleg Timofeyev), Vadim performs in numerous universities, colleges and schools in the US, and at annual IARGUS guitar festival in Iowa. Vadim is a recording artist and released many CD albums which can be found on his website and other online platforms.
Vadim based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he produced the unique “Gypsy Soul” show together with the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. He often can be seen performing at the Tosco Music Party, local festivals, museums, restaurants and other venues.
Mr. Kolpakov was a lead musician of the famous Romani (Gypsy) Theatre “Romen”, where he performed as a guitarist, composer, vocalist, dancer and dramatic actor. To this day, his original guitar compositions are performed in many prominent plays at the theatre as part of the vibrant oral tradition of the Romani culture. Vadim graduated from the Roma performing arts school Gilori and studied guitar with his uncle Alexander Kolpakov, the virtuoso 7-string guitarist and songwriter who served as the musical director of the Romen Theatre for over a quarter of a century. At the age of 15, Vadim began work at the Romen Theatre, where he worked for 8 years and was the leading guitarist for 7 years.
In 2008, Vadim Kolpakov as a member of the Kolpakov Trio, went on the two years world tour "Sticky & Sweet" with Madonna. They performed in many European and South American countries, as well as in North America and Mexico, including venues such as Wembley stadium in London, Madison Square Garden in NYC and Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Vadim has performed extensively worldwide. He has given concerts in Carnegie Hall (New York City) and many established concert venues, as well as for the Kazakhstan president Nazarbaev, and for both the Finnish and Portuguese presidents and parliaments. Vadim has also performed in Europe with the Gypsy group Gelem as lead guitarist, at the famous Romani festival Khamoro in the Czech capital, Prague. He has performed in innumerable other musical projects on Russian, Canadian and American television and radio and was invited to record his own compositions for the soundtrack of the Finnish motion picture Mire Bala Kale Hin. He has recorded several CDs with Alexander Kolpakov and the group Gelem. In 1999, Vadim participated in the major concert tour 'Gypsy Caravan' as part of the famous Romani group The Kolpakov Trio. Selected as leading representatives of the Russian-Romani musical tradition, The Kolpakov Trio gave several unforgettable concerts in America and Canada together with premier Gypsy musical groups from 5 other countries: Taraf de Haiduks (Romania), Antonio El Pipa Ensemble (Spain), Musafir (India), Kaly jag (Hungary) and Yuri Yunakov Ensemble (Bulgaria/USA). The New York Times singled out Vadim's virtuoso guitar playing while playing on that tour, which was organized by World Music Institute and included over 15 major American and Canadian cities, including an appearance at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (Washington D.C.) and Sanders Theatre at Harvard University.
In 2003, the American ensemble TALISMAN invited him to reconstruct and record music of the Russian-Roma of the 1820s. The resulting recording, A Tribute to Stesha, was released by NAXOS in 2005, and the program was featured at the Boston Early Music Festival 2005.
In that performance, Vadim repeatedly brought the audience to their feet with his expert guitar skills, his passionate dancing and also his singing. Since then, he has recorded several other collaborative projects with the group to be released in 2008, including Dostoevsky's Jews and Gypsies (music and dance vignettes drawn from The Brothers Karamazov) and Mikhail Vysotskiy and the Gypsies (an examination of the musical sharing of vocabulary between the early several guitar and vocal traditions). With TALISMAN, he has taken part in performances and lecture/demonstrations at Harvard University, Boston University, Oberlin College, University of Iowa and Grinnell College, and interviews on NPR, teaching audiences about the Roma nationality and cultural tradition through music and dance. Vadim has also performed and recorded a single with Eugene Hutz (the lead singer of Gogol Bordello).
In 2004, Vadim assembled his own group VIA Romen, which has performed at venues such as the New York Gypsy Festival (Roxy Club, NYC), The Festival of International Cultural Exchange (Portland, Maine), and at clubs such as the Avalon and the Middle East (Boston), Club Pearl (Miami), Signet Club at Harvard University, Royalty Theatre (Clearwater, FL), Regent Theatre (Boston), Romani Yag Gypsy Festival (Montreal, Canada), World Theatre and Music Festival (Colorado Springs, CO) among others. Music by VIA Romen was featured at the Sydney Theatre (Australia) for the production of The Cherry Orchard by A. Chekhov.
In August 2007, Mr. Kolpakov was exclusively invited to perform at the English residency of the famous popular singer Madonna and her husband, the movie director Guy Ritchie. He performed as a part of the celebrated Kolpakov Trio with Eugene Hutz on Madonna's birthday.
Vadim's musical repertoire includes Gypsy-style compositions, European, American and Latin American music, from 19th-century guitar repertoire to current songs, and his own compositions and improvisations on Gypsy, classical, jazz, pop and world music. He works exclusively in the oral tradition and has been teaching Gypsy guitar, dance and vocal repertoire two semesters in 2006 and in 2007 as an Artist-In-Residence at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.