Listen to Some Traditional Romanian Music Here!

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A while ago I wrote about the Romanian manele music and promised to come back to you with some more interesting bits about real Romanian music. Now is the time to talk about the traditional Romanian music and for you to listen to what makes us (but especially older folks here) tic and dance.

The traditional Romanian music has slight variations depending on the area you’re in: in Oltenia and Banat, the tempo is higher and the songs are neverending, while in Muntenia everything is slower paced and the steps are really basic and easy to learn. I am far from being an expert when it comes to traditional Romanian music, I have no idea how to dance it and to be honest I don’t really like most of it, but there are some classics that are worth checking and you can see them below – because it’s always more fun to watch and listen than try to do some of the dances yourself.

We’re going to start with the Calusarii, an amazing dance and a real show to watch. It’s one of the fastest dances in Europe and probably one of the most difficult to master. Like many traditional Romanian dances, it’s characterized by the shouts of those dancing it:

We’ll continue with Ciocarlia (The Lark) – one of my favorites. It is usually sang by the most skilled pan-pipes players and if you give it a minute or two, you will really see why. A really happy and alert traditional Romanian song:

Now let’s move to my all time favorite traditional Romanian music singer, Maria Tanase. She was the Marylin Monroe of our times – great talent, beautiful, a party animal, died young – and she left behind some amazing songs. We’ll start with Ciuleandra – a song that starts slow and goes faster and faster.

If you want to check out the dance (a relatively poor quality video), you can do so here – start from 0:50 to get to the fun part sooner.

We’re moving to another song of hers, Doina din Maramures (the word “doina” doesn’t have a translation in any other language, but we can say that it means “sad song” – it’s enough to listen to it and you will know that the translation is true):

And finally, my all time favorite song – Cine iubeste si lasa (The one who loves you and leaves you). It really gives me the chills every time I listen to it. If you got this far, it doesn’t matter if you listened to the other songs or not, this one is a must:

We should end this on a lighter, happier note, though, so I give you Tudor Gheorghe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR2EANrQgIE

And one of his most famous songs, a real work of art:

Just like every nation out there, we have tons of great traditional songs, but these made it on my list and I hope you enjoy them. I sure did!

9 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Calin: So, was that you dancing Calusarii second from the right? My knees just ached watching those talented dancers. (Maybe they had some sort of padding for their knees?) What were they shouting? (I’d be shouting, “Get me the liniment for my aching knees!!!)
    Maria Tanase had a very haunting voice. I would liken her to France’s, Piaf, or to America’s, Billie Holiday. It’s a shame a lot of the greats burned the candle at both ends, and died before their time:-(
    Tudor made want to get up and do a little jig;-) He certainly is a happy fella;-) Is that a balalaika he is holding? What is the instrument called which looks like a xylophone?
    I liked the last piece, especially, as it had the full orchestra and choir, too;-)
    Thank you for sharing!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Hello Teil, I am gald you enjoyed the music in this article! I was injured when they filmed the Calusarii video, so I’m not there, haha. And they are shouting the lyrics, which are probably really basic (but I don’t understand what they say).

      The instrument that Tudor Gheorghe is holding is actually called a Cobza, and the xylophone looking thing is called a tambal. They are both traditional Romanian instruments, but rarely used nowadays when fewer and fewer people know how to play them.

  2. I second Teil in saying Ms. Tanase reminds you of Edith Piaf. Great voice. I love the Lark music, but really enjoyed the last video with Tudor. His voice is fantastic. Thanks for sharing it. I will email you soon.. 🙂

  3. Hey Calin: Your post made me want to check out more of your country’s music. Ion Miu is fanfreakingtastic!!! Looks as though the a/c wasn’t on, though;-)
    You Tube: Ion Miu HD http://www.igimediavision.ro I really like his rendition of the theme from “Love Story.” I don’t know how to provide a link–sorry;-(
    ~Teil (USA)

  4. Calin: I went and looked up some other Romanian artists–your article inspired me;-)
    I found I really like Aurelian Andreescu and his songs, such as “Dorul,” “Copacul,” “Oameni,” etc. He had a very great voice.
    Toni Iordache and Ion Miu–incredible ţambal players. I found I really enjoyed hearing the ţambal.
    Of course, Georghe Zamfir is the great pan flute player, and his music is hauntingly beautiful.
    Being over 50;-(), I prefer music of the 1960s and classic music by Enescu, Porumbescu and other great Romanian composers–basically more “easy listening” music. ~Teil (USA)

    • Yes, we do have some nice artists in the country. I wasn’t very familiar with Ion Miu, but he is indeed extremely skilled and the tambal sounds amazing! I am glad that this article inspired you to look into Romanian music and you found some great examples here. Since you are planning to retire here some day, you have to know what kind of music to prepare for 🙂

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