On the basis of this compilation, the violin is definitely the instrument of the Russian Gypsies. There's virtuosic violin, emotional violin, and even easy listening violin behind the voices. But whichever way you turn, there's violin. To be fair, much of it is superb, like the tracks by Loyko that bookend the disc, or the jaw-droppingly wonderful "Moldova" by Alexeji Dulkevich. That's a piece worthy of Paganini himself, the kind that makes you stop everything to listen. Of course, good as the majority of this stuff is, there are a few that are merely average and a couple of duds, like Trio Rita with "Kalina," a song with all the emotional depth of a Celine Dion rendition. A second CD features the excellent Kolpakov Duo.