"It feels strange to hear the achingly glamorous, sweepingly romantic music made by violinist Sarah Harrison and tenor/ accordion player Igor Outkine during the day. Their divine collection of Russian and gypsy, tangos and cabaret tunes should be played after dark in a smokey late-night dive, where their heady sounds would soundtrack reeling heads and fluttering hearts. Both are classically trained musicians and it shows, also not at the expense of their music's soul. Their technical ability never gets in the way of entertainment. Harrsion in her fabulous frocks provides drama and comedy; Outkine adds earthiness, fun and even some headbanging. Rather than evoke wild, stirring passion, Mazaika have a warmly emotional sound, and the connection between the two is apparent. Their music feels like a dazzling escape into a world where people dance on tables with roses between their teeth."
Tina Jackson, Metro
Thursday, August 24, 2006
|"It wouldn't do for a Fringe act whose publicity puff accuses the Tattoo of stuffiness - the very idea, tsk - to take themselves too seriously. Fortunately, Mazaika are only too willing to send themselves up. There they are, just about getting away with Sarah Harrison acting as Igor Outkine's Russian-to-English translator, when Outkine "inadvertently" and briefly reverses the roles. As becomes only too clear, Outkine's English is fine, although after a decade or so in London, he has lost none of his native musical ability on accordion or as a bel canto tenor. The duo's irreverence, including introducing Harrison's virtuoso violin flourishes as if playing at the Queen Vic, and sundry comic turns, help give their musical sketches a real sense of pace. Yet for all their larking around, when the music demands gravitas and expression, it's there in spades. Their programme is as packed as it is varied - with opera commingling with tango, gypsy jazz, bluegrass and impressionistic pieces - and there are almost as many different numbers as there are commercials for their CD. Oops, there goes another one. Run ends today"
Rob Adams, The Herald
August 28 2006
Fringe music: Mazaika, C Chambers Street
|"Mazaika is a sparkling musical mosaic that brightens up even the darkest corner of the C venue. Delighted smiles light up every face as the first chords on the big accordion and the magic of the gypsy violin catch at the throat. The artistry is first class, the virtuosity immense and the presentation flawless. Outkine is Russian, trained in classical accordion and traditional song. He has phenomenal expertise as a player and as a singer his lyric tenor can do full justice to La dona E mobile just as well as cruising though the old Cotton Club favourite Dinah Harrrison, classically trained in London, has become expert in many genres, ranging from classical, through jazz, Latin, Russian and gypsy and together they do it all with style and panache. There is plenty of passion in the tangos, and Dinicu's The lark allows Harrison to show that she can play as fast and furious as the best of gypsies. This is a show rich in wit. Coquetry and flirtation fly between them. but in an action-packed fifty minutes music wins hands down. Unmissable entertainment"
Val Baskott, Edinburgh Guide
21 August 2006, 23 August 2006
"Igor Outkine and Sarah Harrison together are 'Mazaika'.
Russian Igor could have come directly from the steppes and I had never before thought of Russians as romantic,
but am now having to rethink.
His singing and accordion playing demonstrate almost every musical genre you can think of.
He is beautifully complemented by Sarah, a tall, willowy figure in various sumptuous dresses,
playing the violin and balalaika.
I have never before heard all the sounds that Sarah seems to coax out of thin air via her violin.
Starting with opera, moving through rock, pop, traditional music from several countries, jazz
and ending up with a Russian finale.
The small audience were witness as a spellbinding performance unfolded and the 50 minutes were over far too soon
as we were enjoying ourselves and the performance so much.
This was a superb way to start my Fringe viewing and sticking to 'what has jokingly become our nickname',
this is definitely another 4 * review.
I look forward to seeing and hearing more of these two very talented people.
For more information see the website www.mazaika-music.com
A well deserved ****"
|"Sheer heaven - stirring, passionate and highly entertaining"
The Three Weeks review, Edinburgh Festival 2004
|"My current black dog depression was fired by a concert I went to in London the other night that was guaranteed, according to the poster, to transport me from the fairytale snow-covered Russian steppes to the glow of a gypsy campfire. from opera house to Parisian cafe, an evening of magic and passion. And so it did.... The artistes I went to see at the Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, behind Holborn, were a Russian tenor called Igor Outkine and his English wife Sarah Harrison on violin. They were fantastic. They played Neapolitan love songs and Russian tangos which made you either want to weep or else leap up from your hard metal stacking chair, fling your sensible winter coat to the wind and dance...... ...Sarah, the violinist, looked dazzling in a long white slinky evening gown and a red rose in her dark hair. Bring back glamour someone, quick"
Sue Arnold, The Independent Review
12 February 2005
|"A lovely tenor voice....their violinist Sarah Harrison plays so fast that she gasps like an exhausted sprinter after each dizzy riff.......By the end of the evening, the Purcell Room had become a tavern"
Michael Church, The Independent
|"Wistful accordion.......the worlds first headbanging accordionist''
|"....his tenor voice plangent and coloured to perfection for Russian romance and melancholy. That was me won over. We moved on through Mozart and Vivaldi and an aria from 'Rigoletto' to virtuoso finger work from both artistes in the Gypsy airs (Zigeunerweisen)of Sarasate and Khatchaturian's Sabre dance - we were breathless.....and then, almost before we knew it, we were into twenty minutes of swaying and swinging tunes from the Hot Club de France. An accordion as brilliant as a band, a violin that could double as a jazzy banjo. We were floating, and we floated on, through old Russian folk music and Monti's famous Czardas into a generous encore of the liveliest 'Kalinka' you could wish for. Two days on everyone is still enthusing. And I'm still shimmying. Must be the gypsy in me"
14 March 2004
Mazaika duo at St Helens Church, Low Fell
|"Igor Outkine's accordion, voice and whimsical humour seduced everyone, while Sarah Harrison's fingers and bow flew effortlessly to the heights of precision virtuosity. Their standing ovation was well deserved"
The Cornishman, Mazaika Duo at Golowan Festival 2005
|"I've been going to big pop concerts for years and I must tell you that you are the best entertainer I've ever seen, and I saw Elvis!"
audience member at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club [drunk of course]
|"An exceptional accordionist, an accordion played at the highest level and a violinist whose originality is equalled only by the talent of the two.. a voice that comes to us from the depths of Russia"
L'Echo de St. Agreve
|"Brilliant, enchanting. Igor Outkine's playing had such presence that it could almost have been mistaken for a whole orchestra, and his vocal performance was equally impressive. The versatility, inventiveness and knowing audacity of the violinist Sarah Harrison are not something I will quickly forget."
Journal of Hounslow & Heathrow Synagogue in London
|"Mazaika's concert was, in a word, magnificent! Their performance will leave us with a lovely memory"
Tom Richards, ARTS at the Arches, Attleboro MA, Presenter
|"I have seen many concerts over the years, but nothing as original, vibrant and fascinating as yours! Thank you!"
audience member in Pennsylvania
|"I am seventy five years old and I have never enjoyed myself as much at any other concert. Even my German husband smiled"
audience member in Xenia, Ohio
|"You will find some real gold here... truly remarkable... I enjoyed his (Igor's) playing and love his singing, but when Sarah played the violin... oohhhh... heaven. That woman can play the violin! I was mesmerized with her playing. The phrasing and technique were impeccable. And the duet played in perfect counterpoint to each other. They were having so much fun together it was infectious"
Robert Karl Berta, The Free-Reed Review
|"Consummate musicianship, brilliant showmanship and international elan.... no group has ever stirred so much enthusiasm for our series as did Mazaika"
James Rogers, Music on High Performing Arts Series, Suffield CT, Presenter
"To say we were pleased with Mazaika is a gross understatement. Theirs was
the best concert we've had in our ten year history - and we have had
some great performers! Artistically, they were superb. And their rapport with the audience is just delightful.
Our audience nearly went crazy and gave them a lengthy standing ovation
at intermission! Sarah's technical artistry is almost unbelievable. Igor is wonderful - not only a great artist but a real showman. They are absolutely a presenter's dream. Presenters you can't do better than this."
Catherine Barnes, Arts under the Dome, Gulfport MS