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Damian Drăghici (born March 31, 1970 in Bucharest, Romania) is a Romanian politician of Romani origin. Drăghici is a Senator in the Romanian Parliament and also an advisor on Roma issues to the Prime Minister. He is a former musician, best known as a nai player and is a noted exponent of this instrument in the world of jazz.
Drăghici was born in Bucharest to a family of lăutari 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 before settling on the nai at the age of ten.
USA Berklee College of Music
In 1996 Drăghici auditioned for faculty members visiting Athens from the Berklee College of Music in Boston It offered him a full scholarship and 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 started working with major Hollywood film composers, music producers and some of the best musicians in the world. 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 and Oscar Castro Neves.
In 2004, Drăghici joined James Brown, Joe Cocker, reggae star Shaggy, Cyndi Lauper, Zucchero, Gipsy Kings, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) and The Pointer Sisters for one of Europe's most esteemed musical events, the Night of the Proms tour.
On 12 November 2010 he showcased his ability to perform some of the most challenging jazz tunes on pan-flute live on stage in a Bucharest concert together with clarinet player Eddie Daniels and vocalist Diane Schuur.
At the 8 May 2011 Classical Meets Jazz event Drăghici and violinist Nigel Kennedy performed together in the Palace Square. The repertoire included classical, jazz and Romanian folk music. This was his last public 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, “his gypsy brothers” as he called them. One of the purposes of “Damian & Brothers, Filarmonika Rromanes” was to change the negative perception and stereotypes of the Romani minority through their music. The impact and the huge popularity achieved during the three-year period of the project are a legacy of their common effort.
In June 2012, Drăghici was appointed State Councillor on Roma Issues to the Prime Minister of Romania. On 9 December 2012 he was elected a Member of the Romanian Parliament in the Senate. In the European Parliament election, 2014, he was one of two Roma candidates elected. Along with Soraya Post.
- Bird, Michael; Stefan Candea. "Anti-Roma views rampant across all Romanian political parties". EUobserver. EUobserver. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- Ben, Sisario (9 November 2004). "Virtuoso of the Pan Flute Fills a Niche All His Own". New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- "Two Roma MEPs elected". EUobserver. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.