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Ionică Minune (born February 13, 1959) is a Romani-Romanian accordionist. He is one of the most respected accordionists in the world and is widely considered the greatest accordionist by fellow lăutari.
Life and career
Ionică Minune (whose real name is Ene Gheorghe) was born in Costeşti, Buzău County, Romania into a family of lăutari. The members of his family played different instruments and they used to be booked together as one taraf (band) at various events in the village. At the age of four, Ionică took his older brother accordion and played a waltz by ear without any kind of training. Since then he continued to play and practice, mostly for his own pleasure, as he didn't want to become a professional musician.
As a teenager, Ionică dreamed to become a policeman, but, when his father became ill, he started to play professionally in order to help his family. He quickly became one of the most famous accordionists and before he turned twenty he played only with masters of the lăutareasca music. Since 1979, he also started to tour abroad in countries such as: Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Japan and Malaysia.
In the early 90's he moved to France where he became one of the most appreciated accordionists. There, besides lăutareasca music, he started to play jazz, manouche jazz, as well as other kinds of music. Despite living a good life (he received French citizenship and an apartment) he didn't feel very comfortable in France and returned to Romania in 2006. There, he started an accordion school together with the accordionist Constantin "Fulgerică" and the cimbalom player Cristinel Turturică (a former member of Taraf de Haïdouks).
Throughout his career, besides many great lăutari, Ionică Minune played with many worldwide known artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Oscar Peterson, Michel Petrucciani, Richard Galliano, Marcel Azzola, Didier Lockwood and Florin Niculescu.
- He was nicknamed Ionică Minune (meaning Johnny the Wonder) by the great cimbalom player Toni Iordache. Adrian Minune took his own stage name in the honor of Ionică Minune.
- Ionică Minune is known to have a passion for high class suits, shoes, belts, watches, perfumes, etc. While on a tour in Japan he bought over two tons of these.
- While in France, he played for many famous people such as presidents François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac, prime-minister Lionel Jospin and football player Zinedine Zidane.
- When he was four years, dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, who was on a visit to Costeşti, hold Ionică in his arms, as he was the smallest player in the local orchestra.
- He a friend of Youri Djorkaeff.