Here’s one about a river. Săbărelu’

More from folklore-rich Teleorman region. This is a song about the Sabar river, a 90-mile long lowland tributary of the Argeş, known for being completely unremarkable, except for… well, the one time it was mentioned in a folk song :). Sung here by Viorica of Clejani, but also covered by the Taraf de Haïdouks or […]

Lume, soro lume / World, sister world

Yet another dark, brooding folk standard about how life is so damned ephemeral. Mentioned as having been taught to famed virtuoso Grigoraş Dinicu (you can hear his Hora Staccato in music schools everywhere) by an old Gypsy called Zamfir around 1900. Here we have Bucharest-born Maria Tănase‘s clean, canonical recording (“authentic folklore” purists may sneer). […]

Romica Puceanu’s famous Şaraiman

Here’s a brilliant lăutăresc love song played by Gypsies in Wallachia. Hundreds of years of Ottoman overlordship have left their mark – the wailing aahs and oohs :) – on our music. Romica Puceanu‘s 1970′s version is very well known around here, though this song has been covered numerous times by (crappy) commercial artists who […]

Un ţigan avea o casă / A Gypsy once had a house

Cheesy ballad about a Gypsy fellow who owned a house (that’s songworthy already! – historically, as slaves to wealthy landowners and Orthodox monasteries, Gypsies lived in tents or crude hovels) and who didn’t think there was anything wrong with domestic violence. A standard of Wallachian folklore (more specifically, Teleorman and Oltenia regions), this song has […]

Deschide, gropare, mormântul / Gravedigger, open up the grave

One of the more abyssal songs of Romanian Gypsy lăutăresc repertoire. Best known version belongs to “Romanian Cesaria Evora” Romica Puceanu, however I chose the clean contemporary approach of Ionel Tudorache’s taraf. It’s not only the cynical lyrics! The droning, repetitive cimbalom in the background and the weeping accordion make for one hell of a […]