A tasty Romanian rabbit hole

 

Ion Petre Stoican – Sounds from a Bygone Age Volume 1 (Asphalt Tango)

Romica Puceanu – Sounds from a Bygone Age Volume 2 (Asphalt Tango)

Dona Dumitru Siminica – Sounds from a Bygone Age Volume 3 (Asphalt Tango)

Toni Iordache – Sounds from a Bygone Age Volume 4 (Asphalt Tango)

Gabi Luncă – Sounds from a Bygone Age Volume 5 (Asphalt Tango)

Having read the essays accompanying all these communist-era treasures from Romania, I confess to not being much wiser than when I started about what exactly I’m listening to here – how much is pop, how much is folk, how much is traditional?

Does it matter?

Nope.

A purchasing whim, a punt, has enriched my musical life considerably.

There’s violins, accordians, cimbaloms, trumpets.

Most emphatically, there are off-kilter rhythms – many of the tunes seem to stop and start, lurch and stagger.

If this was a western pop-folk sound, I might be tempted to think the players were drunk.

The music is frequently rousing, as often melancholy.

They’re all good.

But I like the singing of the famous Puceanu and Luncă the best.

The latter, in particular, throws in a poppy vibe that recalls – for me anyway – some of frothy twang and effervescence associated with the Eurovision vibe of many decades ago.

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