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Radio 3 Guide to World Music
Romania: Discography

This discography is from The Rough Guide to World Music (Volume 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East)

CD = recommended first buy
cd = compact disc
t = tape only
v = vinyl only

Transylvania - search by artist:
| A - I | J - R | S - Z |

Lowland Music - search by artist:
| A - I | J - R | S - Z |

General Compilations

cd Romania: Musical Travelogue
(Auvidis/Silex, France)
An excellent disc in this series with music from Banat, Maramures, and Wallachia. It includues good examples of a 'violin with a horn', some ethnic minorities music, and beautiful cobzâ playing by Dan Voinicu; the disc is weak, however, on the main Transylvanian and Wallachian styles.

CD Romania: Wild Sounds from Transylvania, Wallachia & Moldavia
(World Network, Germany)
Number 41 in Network's global survey, this is the best overall anthology of Romanian music. It includes a few examples of rather arranged Communist-style performances, but there are great ensembles from Transylvania and Wallachia (including the Taraf de Haidouks), the Moldavian Fanfare Ciocbrlia, and samples of taragot and a 'violin with a horn'.

cd Village Music from Romania
(AIMP/VDE-Gallo, Switzerland)
A three-CD box produced by the Geneva Ethnographic Museum. Archival recordings of specialised interest made by the musicologist Constantin Brailoiu in 1933ñ43 on his travels around Moldavia, Oltenia and Transylvania.

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Fonó Records of Budapest (fax (36) 1 206 6296, email have a series of discs called 'New Patria', documenting the last remaining Hungarian Transylvanian bands.


cd The Blues at Dawn
(Fonó/ABT, Hungary)
A beautifully produced CD of the slow, melancholy hajnali (morning songs) from Kalotaszeg. They are sung by two native Kalotaszegi singers with guests Márta Sebestyén and András Berecz from Budapest. The excellent fiddler Sándor 'Neti' Fodor leads the band.

cd The Edge of the Forest: Romanian Music from Transylvania
(Music of the World, US)
There are two good Music of the World discs of Romanian music, this one covering Transylvania and the other Wallachia. Included here are dances from southern districts of Maramures (Codru and Chioar) where the style belongs to the central Transylvanian tradition, several lyrical songs and a couple of tracks from Maramures proper and Oas.

cd Fiddle Music From Maramures
(Steel Carpet, UK)
An excellent survey of different fiddle players of the Mara Valley, recorded by Lucy Castle who is playing and studying the music of the region. Real peasant fiddlers, recorded in their own homes - a great way inside this musical microcosm. (Steel Carpet Music, 190 Burton Rd., Derby DE1 1TQ tel: 01332 346399).

cd Magyarszovát - Báza
(Fonó, Hungary)
A double CD featuring Hungarian music performed by village musicians and singers from two villages in Mezoség. It features dance sequences and many unaccompanied songs which are, perhaps, more of an acquired taste.

cd Musiques de Mariage de Maramures
(Ocora, France)
A good selection of Maramures dance music, captured at three village weddings.

cd Musiques de Mariage et de Fêtes Roumaines
(Arion, France)
Here is the largest selection of the extraordinary music from Oas on disc played by the Pitigoi brothers. Also a good selection of music from Maramures and Bihor.

cd Musiques de Transylvanie
(Fonti Musicali, Belgium)
One of the best introductions to Transylvanian music featuring a mostly Hungarian repertoire played by the best musicians on Budapestís táncház scene. Includes great music from Kalotaszeg, Mezoség, Gyimes plus Romanian dances from Bihor and Moldavia.

CD Romania: Music for Strings from Transylvania
(Chant du Monde, France)
A great collection of dance music played by village bands from the Cîmpia Transilvaniei, Maramures and Oas. Excellent notes and photos, too.

cd La Vraie Tradition de Transylvanie
(Ocora, France)
A pioneering disc when it was first made in the 1970s as it highlights real peasant music from Maramures and Transylvania when sanitised folklore was prevalent. It features some excellent ensembles, bagpipes and a violin with a horn, and from Maramures there's a track from Gheorghe Covaci, the son of a fiddler Bartók recorded in 1913.

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Budatelke Band
The village band from the village of Budatelke (Budesti in Romanian) in northern Mezoség, led by Ioan 'Nuncu' Hârlet.

cd Budatelke - Szászszantgyörgy
(Fonó, Budapest)
The second of the New Patria series archiving Transylvania's village bands. The band play mainly Romanian repertoire plus Hungarian, Gypsy and Saxon tracks. Includes a version of the ubiquitous shepherd searching for his sheep.

Sándor "Neti" Fodor
Neti Fodor (born 1922) is the most respected Gypsy fiddler of the Kalotaszeg region.

CD Hungarian Music from Transylvania:
Sándor Fodor
(Hungaroton, Hungary)
On this compelling disc of both Hungarian and Romanian music from Kalotaszeg, Neti plays with some of the best táncház musicians from Budapest - who've become his disciples. The energy and bite is fantastic. One of the essential Transylvanian records.

Mihály Halmágyi
Halmágyi is a veteran player of Csángó violin music from Gyimes. He plays a five-stringed fiddle, the extra string running under the playing strings to add overtones and fill out the sound. He was for years accompanied on the gardon by his wife Gizella Adám, who recently died.

cd Hungarian Music from Gyimes: Mihály Halmágyi
(Hungaroton, Hungary)
Dance, wedding and funeral tunes played on fiddle and gardon. Strange and wild music. A great performance of the shepherd and his lost sheep.

This Maramures-based group led by zougora-player Ioan Pop, with various fiddlers and drummer Ioan Petreud, is trying to keep the traditional style intact.

cd Christmas in Maramures
(Buda/Musique du Monde, France)
Although recorded in Bucharest, this disc has all the flavour of a real Maramures occasion. It comes with excellent notes and translations.

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The Mácsingó Family
One of the important musical Gypsy families from central Transylvania based in the villages of Báré (Bãrãi in Romanian) and Déva. György Mácsingó leads the band.

cd Báré - Magyarpalatka
(Fono, Hungary)
Of the "New Patria" recordings released so far this is the place to start. It may be too raw for some tastes ñ the bass saws, grates and often slides onto its notes and the lead fiddle is heavily ornamented drawing energy and emotion out of every note - but this is the real thing. The band comprises two fiddles, two contras and bass and offers up Hungarian, Romanian and Gypsy dance sets plus a couple of songs.

Hungaryís leading táncház band and the leading ambassadors of Transylvanian music. See Hungary discography (p.165) for more recommendations.

cd Máramaros - The Lost Jewish Music of Transylvania
(Hannibal/Ryko, UK)
Music from a tragically vanished people in Transylvania revived with the help of two veteran Gypsy musicians who played alongside Jews before the war. For more on this and the Jewish music of eastern Europe see the Klezmer article in The Rough Guide to World Music Volume 2.

Ökrös Ensemble
Csaba Ökrös is a tremendous fiddler and his traditional ensemble is one of the best Budapest táncház groups. They often work together with village musicians from Transylvania.

cd Transylvanian Portraits
(Koch, US)
A fine survey of Transylvanian music from one of Budapest's best groups, the Ökrös Ensemble, with vocals by Márta Sebestyén. Mainly Hungarian repertoire including violin and gardon music from Gyimes and Csángó songs. The fiddle-playing of Csaba Ökrös on the last track ("The shepherd losing his Sheep") is stunning.

Palatca Band
Probably the most celebrated band of central Transylvania, led by members of the Codoba family in the village of Magyarpalatka.

cd Magyarpalatka - Hungarian Folk Music from the Transylvanian Heath
(Hungaroton, Hungary)
A beautiful selection of traditional dance sets recorded over the years by this seminal band. Their typical line up comprises two fiddles, two contra and bass.

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Soporu Band
Soporu are one of the fine Gypsy bands from the Cîmpia Transilvaniei, led by Dandoricb Ciurcui.

cd Taraful Soporu de Cîmpie
(Buda/Musique du Monde, France)
Several suites of dance tunes and songs sung by Vasile Soporan.

Szászcsávás Band
Szászcsávás (Ceuad in Romanian) is a predominantly Hungarian village in the Kis-Kükülló region of Transylvania. Their Gypsy band, led by István "Dumnezu" Jámbor, is one of the best in the region.

cd Folk Music from Transylvania:
Szászcsávás Band
(Quintana/Harmonia Mundi, France)
This is a great recording of a real village band with a wide dance repertoire, including Hungarian, Romanian, Saxon and Gypsy tunes.

Váralmási Band
This band from Váralmási (Almadu in Romanian) was one of the last old-time groups of the Kalotaszeg region.

cd Váralmási Pici Aladárés bandája
(Fonó, Budapest)
The first recording in the New Patria series of "Final Hour" recordings of Transylvanian bands. Includes Hungarian and Romanian dances plus a bizarre Jewish tango. Zágor Aladár, the primás (leader), died shortly after the recording was made in October 1997.

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Lowland Music


cd Romania: Wedding Music from Wallachia
(Auvidis/Ethnic, France)
A selection of songs and dance tunes from various bands including members of the Taraf de Haidouks and more urban repertoire from Ion Albedteanu. The Music of the World disc below covers similar repertoire and is more attractive.

cd Taraf: Romanian Gypsy Music
(Music of the World, US)
Companion to the Transylvanian disc above and a very good selection of tracks from various Wallachian Tarafuri including members of the Taraf de Haidouks. Mostly small ensembles of a couple of violins, hambal and bass. The cobzb lute appears on a couple of tracks.


Ion Albesteanu
Albedteanu (born in the 1930s, died 1998) was born into a large family of lbutari and learned to play all the instruments, although he became known as a violinist and singer. He worked in Bucharest in the officially promoted folklore of the Ceaudescu period, but was also able to maintain the genuine style. Good notes.

cd The Districts of Yesteryears
(Buda/Musique du Monde, France)
The pieces on this disc aim to recreate the music of the outlying districts of Bucharest in the years 1920-70. Albedteanu is a good singer, with a pleasant and idiomatic voice, an expressive fiddler and is accompanied by a good band of musicians with beautifully textured hambal, accordion and the fine cobzb playing of Marin Cotaoanhb. "At the Reed House", sung in an intimate, "head voice" is quite beautiful.

Taraf de Caransebed
A five-piece Gipsy band from a town in the Banat region in the western region of neighbouring Serbia, led by saxophonist Constantin Ciurariu.

CD Musiciens du Banat
(Auvidis/Silex, France)
Some stunning virtuoso playing of dance tunes which is enough to explain the popularity of the Banat style. The line-up includes saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, accordion and bass, plus occasional taragot and nai.

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Taraf de Haidouks
Romania's most recorded Gypsy band from the village of Clejani near Bucharest. In a succession of discs from 1988 to 1998 you can trace the dynamic development of Gypsy music in Wallachia as new styles are absorbed without ever diluting the distinctive flavour of the taraf.

CD Honourable Brigands, Magic Horses and Evil Eye
(Crammed Discs, Belgium)
It's hard to choose between any of the Taraf's discs - every one has its strengths: 1998's Dumbala Duma for its contributions from the Ursari Gypsies with their vocal percussion and female vocalist Viorica Rudbreasa, and 1991's Taraf de Haidouks with its inimitable "Ballad of the Dictator" and old-style playing of Nicolae Neadcu. But the 1994 release, Honourable Brigands is most essential, for its beautiful old-style songs and dances and wild Geamparale and Turceascb from the new generation.

cd Roumanie: Les Leutari de Clejani
(Ocora, France)
This was the disc that started it all off, recorded in 1988. Great songs, doinas and dance music before the taraf were sharpened up by international touring.

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Fanfare Ciocerlia
This brass band from the Moldavian village of Zece Prbjini are perhaps the last representatives of a tradition.

cd Radio Pad cani
(Piranha, Germany)
A frenetic romp, punchily recorded, through some fearsomely fast dance numbers - rusasca, sîrba, bâtutb, geamparale and a wonderful foxtrot plus "Nicoleta" which sounds like it's straight from the repertoire of Serbian or Macedonian bands. And of course Ciocbrlia, from which they take their name. The pace occasionally breaks for a doina.

cd Zece Prbjiniís Peasant Brass Band
(Buda/Musique du Monde, France)
This more traditional set, with a slightly different line-up, is also pretty good.

Nicolae Gutsa
A Gypsy singer, Nicolae Gutsa was born near Petrodeni in 1967 and now works in Timidoara in the Banat region of western Romania. A very popular singer, he performs traditional music in a contemporary style.

cd The Greatest Living Gypsy Voice
(Auvidis/Silex, France)
Despite the absurd title, this is a great disc with excellent vocals and some wild instrumental playing, notably from Ion Trifoi on violin and Remus Kiroaci on sax in a band that also includes piano accordion, guitar and synth.

Trio Pandelescu
Vasile Pandelescu (born in 1944) is a virtuoso accordionist who played for many years in a group with Gheorghe Zamfir. His trio includes double bass and Vasile's son Costel on hambal.

cd Trio Pandelescu
(Auvidis/Silex, France)
A really attractive disc recorded live with high-quality, intimate playing, delicate moments of real poetry, and all the requisite fire. It includes a couple of beautiful solo hambal tracks.

Gheorghe Zamfir
Born in Bucharest in 1941, nai panpipe player Zamfir must be Romania's most recorded musician. He has literally dozens of albums with panpipe arrangements of anything from Vivaldi to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

cd The Heart of Romania
(Pierre Verany, France)
Easy-listening, Romanian style. Zamfir's music has little to do with the traditional music of Romania, but his arrangements of doinas and folktunes have an ethereal beauty. Accompanied by Marcel Cellier on the organ.

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