Taraf de Haïdouks
Taraf de Haïdouks (Romanian: Taraful Haiducilor, "Taraf of Haiduks") are a taraf, i.e., a troupe of Romani-Romanian lăutari from the town of Clejani, the most prominent such group in Romania in the post-Communist Era. In the Western world it has become known by way of French-speaking areas, where they are known as "Taraf de Haïdouks".
The lăutari of Clejani were long known for their musical skills. The first recordings by ethnomusicologists in the village were made in the interwar period. Speranţa Radulescu also made recordings in Clejani in 1983 for the archive of "The Institute for Ethnography and Folklore". The recordings were made in various configurations. During the Communist era, many lăutari from Clejani were also employed in the national ensembles that played Romanian popular music.
Early contacts in the West included Swiss ethnomusicologist Laurent Aubert and Belgian musicians Stéphane Karo and Michel Winter, two fans who were so taken by the band's music that they turned into managers, brought the newly named "Taraf de Haïdouks" to Western Europe and helped launch their international career.
Since the release of its first album back in 1991, Taraf de Haïdouks has been considered the epitome of Romany music's vitality. The group has toured worldwide, released acclaimed albums and a DVD (see below), and counts among its fans the late Yehudi Menuhin, the Kronos Quartet (with whom it has recorded and performed), actor Johnny Depp (alongside whom the group appeared in the film The Man Who Cried), fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto (who invited the band to be models-cum-musicians for his Paris and Tokyo shows), and many more. Meanwhile, the band members seem to have been relatively unaffected by all this, maintaining their way of life (they still reside in Clejani, in the Valachian countryside).
The band's latest release is the Maskarada album, in which they reinterpret and "re-gypsify" pieces by 20th-century classical composers (such as Bartók, Khachaturian and others) who drew inspiration from national folklore and often borrowed from Roma styles.
Some of the core members of the group:
- Nicolae Neacșu ("Culai"): violin and vocals; died December 2002
- Dumitru Baicu ("Cacurică"): cimbalom; died September 2007
- Ilie Iorga: vocals; actually from Mârşă near Clejani
- Ion Manole ("Şaică" or "Boşorogu"): violin, vocals
- Gheorghe Anghel ("Caliu"): violin
- Gheorghe Fălcaru ("Fluierici"): flute, double bass
- Ionică Tănase: cimbalom
- Constantin Sandu ("Dinu"): cimbalom, vocals
- Florea Pârvan: double bass
- Marin Sandu ("Țagoe"): accordion
- Paul Guiclea ("Pasalan"): voice, violin
- Marin Manole ("Marius"): accordion
- Constantin Lăutaru ("Costică Boieru"): violin, voice
- Viorel Vlad: double bass
- Robert Gheorghe: violin
- Commercially released
- Musiques de Tziganes de Roumanie (Crammed Discs, 1991)
- Honourable Brigands, Magic Horses and Evil Eye (Crammed Discs, 1994)
- Dumbala Dumba (Crammed Discs, 1998)
- Taraf de Haïdouks (compilation released on Nonesuch Records, 1999)
- Band of Gypsies (Crammed Discs,2001)
- The Continuing Adventures Of Taraf de Haïdouks (CD+DVD, Crammed Discs, 2006)
- Maškaradǎ (Crammed Discs, 2007)
- Non-commercially released
Before the Haïdouks organized themselves as a group, many of them were recorded on an ethnomusicological album:
- Musique des Tsiganes de Valachie; les lăutari de Clejani (1988) [OCORA 3149025011190]
The following albums were produced by Fundaţia Alexandru Tzigara-Samurcas in Bucharest, in association with Euroart, the cultural fund of the Department for European Integration of the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs of Romania.
- The End of the Millenium [sic] in the Romanian Village / Fin de Millénaire dans le Village Roumain / Sfârşit de mileniu în satul Românesc, a collection of recordings from 1989–97, released in 2000, with liner notes in English, French, and Romanian. Only some of the musicians on these recordings are affiliated with the taraf, but several, some from other villages, have toured with them.
- Outlaws of Yore / Les 'Haïdouks' d'Autrefois, two volumes (labeled "I" and "II"), recorded at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, March 1991, released in 2001, with liner notes in English and French.
- Contributing artist
Two performances of the group were in the 1993 French film Latcho Drom by Tony Gatlif. In 2001 the Taraf appeared in Sally Potter's film The Man Who Cried alongside friend and fan Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, and John Turturro. They were one of the five Romani bands to be featured in the movie Gypsy Caravan (2007).
- Hopa, tropa, Europa (Hop and trot around Europe) by Speranţa Rădulescu (Museum of the Romanian Peasant, 1992) describes the group's first European tour.
- The Taraf's management company, Divano Production for tour dates, photos etc.
- Taraf de Haidouks pages on the site of their record label, Crammed Discs
- Review of the Barbican show 2007
- (Romanian) Blog entry about Taraful Haiducilor on a Romanian-language blog about lăutari. Includes a photo of members of the group.
- (Romanian) http://www.lautarie.net/cacurica-si-taraf-de-haidouks/ Spontaneous video recording of Cacurica and Culaie's interpreting one of their famous love songs
- A video of Taraf de Haïdouks performing excerpts from and talking about their album Maskarada