Codin (În pădure la Daimac / In the forest at Daimac)

Here’s a ballad from Gorj, Oltenia. You guessed it, it’s about death. Oh! what a surprise. More specifically, the song is about a handsome young Rudar Gypsy who has a nasty logging accident because he didn’t heed his mother’s advice. Update: A little bird told me the author of this ballad is Oltenian folk singer […]

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 […]

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 […]