The Ballad of Bering Strait

Genre: Documentary; Director: Nina Gilden Seavey

A band of classically trained young Russians fiddlin’ and pluckin’ out bluegrass worthy of Earl Scruggs seems as likely as another country artist criticizing the President. But Soviet-born outfit Bering Strait (2003 Grammy nominees for best country instrumental) are as spirited as anything coming out of Nashville these days. Director Nina Gilden Seavey chronicles the musicians’ rocky journey, capturing the confused faces of their Russian music teachers, their 1997 arrival in the U.S., and the frustration surrounding years of failed record deals. Too bad, then, that by the time they finally land a slot opening for Trisha Yearwood at the film’s end, the documentary’s dry, pedantic tone has left you almost as worn out as the group.

Originally posted May 23 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT

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