Music of Romania
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Romania is a European country with a multicultural music environment which includes active ethnic music scenes. Romania also has thriving scenes in the fields of pop music, hip hop, heavy metal and rock and roll. During the first decade of the 21st century some Europop groups/artists, such as Morena (Bizu Cristina), Tom Boxer, Morandi, Akcent, Edward Maya, Alexandra Stan, Inna and Yarabi, achieved success abroad. Traditional Romanian folk music remains popular, and some folk musicians have come to national (and even international) fame.
Folk music is the oldest form of Romanian musical creation, characterised by great vitality; it is the defining source of the cultured musical creation, both religious and lay. Conservation of Romanian folk music has been aided by a large and enduring audience, and by numerous performers who helped propagate and further develop the folk sound. One of them, Gheorghe Zamfir, is famous throughout the world today, and helped popularize a traditional Romanian folk instrument, the panpipes.
The religious musical creation, born under the influence of Byzantine music adjusted to the intonations of the local folk music, saw a period of glory between the 15th-17th centuries, when reputed schools of liturgical music developed within Romanian monasteries. Russian and Western influences brought about the introduction of polyphony in religious music in the 18th century, a genre developed by a series of Romanian composers in the 19th and 21th centuries.
Traditional music 
In Banat, the violin is the most common folk instrument, now played alongside imported woodwind instruments; other instruments include the taragot (today often the saxophone plays the taragot role in bands), which was imported in the 1920s from Hungary. Efta Botoca is among the most renowned violinists from Banat.
Bucovina is a remote province, and its traditions include some of the most ancient Romanian instruments, including the ţilincă and the cobza. Pipes (fluieraş or fluier mare) are also played, usually with accompaniment by a cobza (more recently, the accordion). Violins and brass instruments have been imported in modern times.
Crişana has an ancient tradition of using violins, often in duos. This format is also found in Transylvania but is an older tradition. Petrică Paşca has recently helped popularize the taragot in the region.
Dobrogea's population is especially diverse, and there exist elements of traditional Tartar, Ukrainian, Turkish and Bulgarian music among those populations. The most popular dance from Dobrogea is the geamparale, which is very different from the other traditional dances of Romania. In fact, Dobrujan music is characterized by Balkan and Turkish rhythms.
Maramureş and Oaş 
In Oaş, a violin adapted to be shriller is used, accompanied by the zongora. The singing in this region is also unique, shrill with archaic melodic elements.
Moldavia (Moldova) 
Violin and ţambal are the modern format most common in Moldavian dance music. Prior to the 20th century, however, the violin was usually accompanied by the cobza. Brass ensembles are now found in the central part of the county. Among the most renowned violinists from this region is Ion Drăgoi. There are also many musicians among the Csango, ethnic Hungarians who live in the Siret Valley. Moldavia is also known for brass bands similar to those in Serbia.
There is a famous song written about a Moldovan girl living in Bucharest called 'Hey Cherry Blossom'. The song starts by introducing the main protagonist, Cherry Blossom, the male vocals ask Cherry Blossom many questions, she replies describing life in Romania and dreams of having blue eyes instead of brown. The song has received criticism for exacerbating Romanian stereotypes describing women "wearing head scarves and people farming geese", however Cherry Blossom does repost to the questioner that "people in the cities normally don't", her herself now living in the city. (Documentar - Muzica romaneasca dupa 1990)
Violin, kontra and double bass, sometimes with a cimbalom, are the most integral ensemble unit. At the beginning of the 21st century a few bands (such as the Palatka Gypsy Band) still play these traditional instruments, while most bands use newer instruments such as the clarinet or accordion. All these instruments are used to play a wide variety of songs, including numerous kinds of specific wedding songs.
Drum, guitar and violin make up the typical band in Maramureş, and virtuoso fiddlers are also popular in the area. In the end of the 1990s, the Maramuzical music festival was organized to draw attention to the indigenous music of the area.
Wallachia is home to the taraf bands, which are perhaps the best-known expression of Romanian folk culture. Dances associated with tarafs include brâu, geamparale, sârbă and hora. The fiddle leads the music, with the cimbalom and double bass accompanying it. The cobza, once widespread in the region, has been largely replaced by the cimbalom. Lyrics are often about heroes like the haidouks. Taraf de Haïdouks is an especially famous taraf, and have achieved international attention since their 1988 debut with the label Ocora. The Haidouks first attained visibility as lăutari, traditional entertainers at weddings and other celebratory occasions.
Muntenia has a diverse set of instrumentation. The flute (fluier in Romanian) and violin are the traditional melodic element, but now clarinets and accordions are more often used. Accordionists include the renowned performers Vasile Pandelescu and Ilie Udilă.
Oltenia's folk music and dance is similar to Muntenia. Violins and pipes are used, as are ţambal and guitar, replacing the cobza as the rhythmic backing for tarafs. The cimpoi (bagpipe) is also popular in this region.
The most widespread form of Romanian folk music is the doina. There are other styles of folk music. These include the bocet ("lament"), cântec batrânesc (traditional epic ballads; literally "song of the elders") and the când ciobanu şi-a pierdut oile ("when the shepherd has lost the sheep").
Doina is poetic and often melancholic, sometimes compared to the blues for that reason. Doinas are often played with a slow, free rhythm melody against a fast accompaniment pattern in fixed tempo, giving an overall feeling of rhythmic tension. Melodies are sometimes repeated in differing songs, and typically follow a descending pattern.
Regional styles of doina:
- Ca pe luncă - found along the southern Danube
- De codru - codru means "forest"
- Hora lungă - means "long dance", from the region of Maramureş, Transylvania
- Klezmer - originally played by Jewish musicians from Bessarabia and Moldavia
- Oltului - found along the River Olt
Other styles of doina:
- Ca din tulnic - unique type in which the melody imitates a type of bugle called the tulnic
- Ciobanul - shepherd's doina
- De dragoste - popular form, usually about love; dragoste means "love".
- De jale - mellow, mournful doina; jale means "grief".
- De leagăn - a lullaby; leagăn means "cradle".
- De pahar - drinking song; pahar means "drinking glass".
- Foaie verde - classical form; literally "green leaves".
Popular music 
Muzică uşoară românească 
The term could be translated as "Romanian Easy Music" and, in the most common sense, this music is synonym with "Muzică de estradă" (from French "estrade", which means "podium"), defining a branch of Pop music developed in Romania after World War II, which appears generally in the form of easy danceable songs, made on arrangements, which are performed by orchestras. This music shows many similarities with Western Popular music, as most songs could be defined as a form of Schlager. It supported influences from other similar melodic styles, like Musica leggera italiana (from Italy) and Canción Melódica (from Spain). This Romanian style of music was popularized abroad through the international Golden Stag Festival, held in Brașov, since 1968. The most representative interprets are those from 1980s, 1970s and rarely, 1960s: Aurelian Andreescu, Elena Cârstea, Corina Chiriac, Mirabela Dauer, Stela Enache, Luigi Ionescu, Horia Moculescu, Margareta Pâslaru, Angela Similea, Dan Spătaru, Aura Urziceanu.
Romanţă (plural: romanţe) is a vocal or instrumental musical piece, sung in a poetic and sentimental mood. It appears as an accessible and expressive melody, on the background of piano and guitar orchestral arrangements. It presents similarities to British music style "Easy Music". The history of Romanian romanţe can be traced back until the Interwar period, when it has became famous through the agency of the most popular Romanian singer of that time, Marin Teodorescu, who is better known as Zavaidoc. After World War II, singers like Gică Petrescu integrated in this music orchestral elements, which are specific for Argentinian style, Tango Nuevo.
Muzică de mahala 
Muzică de mahala appeared in the early 1980s, in Banat area, as an counteraction to the omnipresent traditional Romanian folk music. The new style supported the influence of the Serbian pop music and was banned by the communist regime because it was associated with the low morality and culture. This new style borrowed many influences from Balkan culture, on the background of Romanian folk music, employing instruments from Pop music like electric guitar, bass guitar, synthesizers and drums in exchange for the traditional instruments from lăutarească music like cimbalom and, in some cases, for violin and accordion. After the Romanian Revolution from the end of the 1989, this genre began to fade out, becoming almost extinct in the middle of 1990s. This music is seldom referred as Proto-Manele because it has represented a model for other popular style, Manele, which emerged at the and of the 1990s, few years after the disappearance of muzică de mahala. Representative mahala bands:
- Azur (vocalist: Nelu Vlad) - the first band to use electronic beats
- Albatros (vocalist: Iolanda Cristea a.k.a. Naste din Berceni)
- Generic (vocalist: Dan Ciotoi)
- Miracol C (vocalist: Cezar Duţu a.k.a. Cezarică)
- Odeon (vocalist: Costel Geambaşu)
- Real B (vocalist: Cristian Rizescu)
- Tomis Junior (from Galați)
Etno music is a popular Romanian style, which keeps most accurate the typical ethnic sound of Romanian traditional folk music. It is adapted to the modern sound of music, as employs frequently synthesizers along with the typical traditional instruments. It emerged in the early 1990s as a revival of Romanian traditional folk music and maintained a constant popularity until nowadays. It has the largest audience through the fans of Romanian folk music and it is popularized, along with Romanian folk music, through the medium of Etno TV, a Romanian Television, dedicated mainly to Romanian folk music, especially the modern side of this music. Representative artists: Benone Sinulescu and Radu Ille.
Contemporary Romanian Folk 
Acoustic Romanian style of music, inspired by American folk music, with sweet lyrics and played almost exclusively at the guitar. Generally, it evokes a poetic and melancholic atmosphere. It emerged in the early 1960s, along with the first releases of Phoenix band. It was promoted later, through the medium of the Cenaclul Flacăra, a cultural phenomena from 1970s and the first half of the 1980s, which was initiated by Adrian Păunescu, a Romanian poet. A lot of Romanian folk artists gain affirmation through the Cenaclul Flacăra movement: Mircea Vintilă, Vasile Șeicaru, Florian Pittiș, Valeriu Sterian, Nicu Alifantis, Alexandru Zărnescu, Victor Socaciu.
Rock Music 
From the early years (the '60s) there was in Romania an active Rock scene. Because of their free attitude which was associated with the western culture and the capitalist society, the communist regime censored as much as possible the rock musicians. From the beginning they had a "paria" social position. The symbols of the movement like: long hair, jeans, stage attitude were considered decadent. The bands activated under the name of "instrumental-vocal musical ensemble" to avoid the expression rock which was considered to be subversive. Despite of this, the rock scene resisted with consequence in one kind of "official underground" before the revolution from 1989.
Veterans of the scene kept the rock spirit alive under difficult restrictive conditions. The connection with the "news" from west was made within radio stations like "Free Europe" which were forbidden to listen. Rock was in these troubled times for its Romanian supporters more than music. It was attitude against the lack of freedom. Some names with historical resonance for the Romanian rock movement: Phoenix, Sfinx, Roșu și Negru, Mondial, Sincron, Sideral, Semnal M, Metropol, FFN, Progresiv TM, Pro Musica, Catena, Iris, Compact, Holograf, Timpuri Noi, Krypton, Cargo, Celelalte Cuvinte, Post Scriptum, Florian Pittiș, Cornel Chiriac, Dan Andrei Aldea, Octave Octavian Teodorescu, Sorin Chifiriuc, Nicu Covaci, Valeriu Sterian, Mircea Baniciu, Ovidiu Lipan, Ilie Stepan, Liviu Tudan, Mircea Florian, Dorin Liviu Zaharia, Teo Peter, Florin Ochescu, Paul Ciuci, Cristi Minculescu, Dan Bittman, Josef Kappl, Iuliu Merca.
The political freedom and the cultural openness obtained after the 1989 revolution marked a new era for the rock music in Romania. The scene is now very active even the rock music is not one of the main act in the Romanian mass media. The "underground feeling" is still present. The rock clubs have a rich list of concerts. Yearly are organized great rock festivals with national and international character.
Music festivals 
- Bucharest Masters of Jazz Festival - Bucharest 
- EUROPAfest, Bucharest - international festival - blues, jazz, pop, classic 
- Gărâna Jazz Festival - Gărâna, Caraş-Severin (Gărâna Jazz)
- Jazzy Spring Festival Bucharest, Bucharest
- Jazz and More, Sibiu 
- Sibiu Jazz Festival - Sibiu 
- Festivalul Internaţional "Richard Oschanitzky", Iaşi
- Timişoara Jazz Festival - Timişoara 
- Transilvania Jazz Festival - Cluj-Napoca 
- Golden Stag Festival - Brașov - muzică uşoară
- Artmania Festival - Sibiu - Transylvanian Music and Arts Festival - mainly Rock Music Official page
- BestFest - Bucharest
- Peninsula (Félsziget) Festival - Târgu Mureş - rock, metal, pop, electro
- Transilvania International Guitar Festival - Cluj-Napoca
- Stufstock - Vama Veche
- Steaua de Cristal - Gura Humorului - International Festival of Pop Music for Children and Youth “Crystal Star” Official page
- Festivalul Plai - Timişoara
- Terra Siculorum International Classical Guitar Festival (each year at middle of April)
- Harmonia Cordis International Classical Guitar Festival (each year at ending of August or at beginning of September)
See also 
- Broughton, Simon. "Taraf Traditions". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 237–247. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
- Pascu, George & Boţocan, Melania. "Carte de istorie a muzicii", Muzica contemporană, pp 547–625. Vasiliana '98 Publishing, 2011.
- Arta Sunetelor - Magazine - 2009-01-25 Article: Interview with Florin Ochescu (Reporter: Sorin Lupașcu)
- Yes! There was Romanian rock before the '80s! There are many explanations for the lack of recordings ... including the fact that during this period the censorship operated oscillating ... when more severe when larger, I think this was a policy to keep the things under control, culturally at that time. (Romanian)
- History National Museum of Romania - Project "The Communism in Romania" - Article: Our youthfulness - The music of the '70s-'80s
- Beyond the music and text, clothes and haircut distinguish the rockers from the rest of the population. Through this, young displayed openly a statement to the regime. On the other hand, the censorship gave way in the press only negative news about the rock (drug use, sexual promiscuity, violence). So it was that if you wanted to be on TV or in a more importantly concert, your hair had to be cut, you don't wag and, especially, to be clothed regulation: the uniform of the band was a popular shirt or suit. In any case you could not show up dressed in jeans and T-shirt. If you passed the test "suit" after that you had to argue on the repertoire, it was not allowed to sing in foreign languages or parts that the censorship don't like. There have been cases where censorship expressly requested to modify the words of some lyrics. (Romanian)
- Formula As - Magazine - 2004 Article: Interview with Iulian Vrabete (Reporter: Corina Pavel)
- We appeared rarely on TV, because we had long hair and we had to collect it back with clips, to mask it. But the concerts were extraordinary and the world loved us unconditionally. Maybe where there were no other offers. (Romanian)
- Adevărul - Newspaper - 2012-06-14 Interview with Cristi Minculescu, singer (Reporter: Laurențiu Ungureanu
- It was, until '90, a struggle, a continual torment. With that chasing, with the censorship. But we can not arrogate credit for that time because we weren't the only ones in that situation. (Romanian)
- Contributors.ro - Project of the "Society Online" Association - 2012-05-10 Article: In Memoriam Cornel Chiriac an unforgettable soldier of liberty (Author: Vladimir Tismăneanu
- Cornel Chiriac, the one who, first at "Radio Romania", then at the Radio "Free Europe" proved that rock music could undermine the petrified system, it can be an efficient form to contest the totalitarianism and the retrieval of dignity. He was one of the most prized radio journalists by the legendary Bernard Noel. He didn't just exceptional music programs, but organized true tribunes for freedom. (Romanian)
- Let's Rock Concerts
- Clayson, Nancy (17 March 2012). "International Pop Music Festival Crystal Star begins online registration!". Belle News. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- (French) Audio clips: Traditional music of Romania. Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): Gypsy musicians of Transylvania. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: contrã (brace). Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Vioara cu Goarnã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Cobzã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Zongorã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Tambal. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Ocarinã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Fluierul Mic. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Caval. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Traditional music in Romania,
- Romanian music and video clips archive
- Revista METAL on-line, Comunitate Metal, Site oficial in Romania a Iced Earth, Teste metal si multe altele!
- BBC guide to world music: Romania - discography
- Regional ensembles
- LostTrails.com: a commercial site, but has extensive photos and many free download samples of complete recordings of traditional Romanian music
- Play or download traditional music from all regions of Romania
- Dex - estrada
- Adevarul Life - De ce doare muzică uşoară românească?
- Adevarul Life - Muzica Etno, un gen care n-a avut noroc in viață
- Ziare.ro - Folkul romanesc
- Etno video clips
- Taraf TV
- Mynele TV
- Etno TV
- Cartea de Nisip (Romanian)
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