Damian Drăghici (born March 31, 1970 in Bucharest, Romania, a Romanian of Gypsy origins, politician, Senator in the Romanian Parliament and advisor on Roma issues of the Prime Minister, former musician, best known as nai (pan flute) player, and possibly the most noted exponent of this particular instrument in the world of jazz.
Drăghici was born in Bucharest to a family of lautari whose distinguished musical heritage dates back at least seven generations. He started to play lăutărească music in the family and tried an array of instruments but couldn't settle on one particular one. At ten, he started playing the pan flute.
USA Berklee College of Music and international recognition
In 1996 he auditioned for faculty members visiting Athens from the Berklee College of Music in Boston Berklee College of Music offered Drăghici a full scholarship. He began to study with George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi and Hal Crook. Following graduation from college with a Magna Cum Laude majoring in Jazz Performance he relocated to Los Angeles where he start working with major Hollywood film composers. music producers and some of the best musicians in the world, and where he worked on his first major EMI release Damian's Fire with the London Symphony Orchestra and highly acclaimed musicians such as: Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Abraham Laboriel, Neil Stubenhaus, Jimmy Johnson (bassist), John Robinson (drummer), Mike Miller (guitarist), Ramon Stagnaro, Luis Conte, Oscar Castro Neves.
In 2004, Drăghici joined as one of the headliners, James Brown, Joe Cocker, reggae star Shaggy, Cyndi Lauper, Zucchero, Gypsy Kings, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) and The Pointer Sisters for one of Europe's most esteemed musical events the Night of the Proms tour.
On November 12, 2010, he showcased his ability to perform some of the most challenging jazz tunes on panflute live on stage in a Bucharest concert together with Clarinet player Eddie Daniels and vocalist Diane Schuur.
On May 8 of 2011 Classical Meets Jazz was a historical event, Damian Drăghici and the well known Violinist Nigel Kennedy performed together in the Palace Square, the repertoire included Classical, Jazz and Romanian folk music, this was his last performance as he announced his withdrawal from the music scene.
Damian & Brothers project
In 2006 Drăghici decided to come back to his roots,with a new concept and a new group with “his gypsy brothers” as he likes to called them. One of the purposes of “Damian & Brothers, Filarmonika Rromanes” was to change the international perception and the stereotypes over Romani minority through their music. The impact and the huge popularity achieved during three years period of the project now are a confirmation of their common effort.
As of June of 2012, Damian has been appointed State Counselor on Roma Issues for the Prime Minister of Romania. On December 9, 2012, he was elected Member of the Romanian Parliament as a Senator.