02.07.2013 grit friedrich

Speranța Rădulescu at Ștefănești, 2004

For more than 20 years, the label Ethnophonie – falling under the Museum of the Romanian Peasant's supervision – has released three distinctive music categories: fiddle playing, traditional Romanian music and the music of the ethnic minorities. Everything started out with just a couple of cassettes and concerts held at MRP, at the beginning of the '90s, and now the Ethnophonie catalogue has grown considerably.
The ethnolog Speranța Rădulescu is senior researcher in ethnomusicology, at the Peasant Museum and at the National University of Music in Bucharest. She was born in Buzău, in 1949, she graduated in musical composition (1967-1973) with a doctor’s degree in musicology (1984). She has traveled all over Romania, together with her younger colleagues, always in search of artists and musical authentic cultures, away from any kind of televised folklore. Even to this day not many people know that she is the one who has discovered Taraful de la Clejani (the Clejani Ensemble).

Vasile Năsturică at MȚR (Museum of the Romanian Peasant), 2010

The ensemble with the homonym name has become renowned in all over the world during the '90s, then playing under the name of  Taraf de Haidouks, having a Belgian management. However, Speranța Rădulescu has organised a concert with the musicians from Clejani, at MRP. Also, she meant to record a cassette, but the needed money were missing.

In the village of Zece Prăjini, Iași

Gheorghe Anghel and Gheorghe Fălcaru

Vasile Soporan

Horia Bernea, the then-director of the museum, has donated 100 empty cassettes and paper. This is how the first Ethnophonie label release came into existence: from the very beginning its purpose was to counterweight the Romanian musical landscape – assailed at that time by a highly stylized folklore which had nothing to do with authentic rural music. This is how Speranța Rădulescu remembers it:
We didn't have in mind the popular music per se, but, according to our own criteria, the music must express  a local or regional identity. There, where this thing is not available, we lose our interest, because we intended to publish traditional music in our series of folklore. We know that this music has begun to disappear and that is getting harder and harder to find musicians who can truly correspond to our vision.

The house of Gheorghe Negrea, Baia Mare, 2010

Gheorghe Negrea, Baia Mare, 2012

The violinist Emil Mihaiu and the bratschist Urszui Kalman

Speranța Rădulescu, Taraful din Clejani, 1991

photo Florin Iordan, Marius Caraman, Speranța Rădulescu
translator Andrea Nastac

We recommend

CD 015, ETHNOPHONIE Cântările Lui Vasile Soporan din satul Frata
CD 020, ETHNOPHONIE Dance Music From Old Time Choir
CD 012, ETHNOPHONIE Aromanii din Andon Poci. Cântări și povestiri
CD 001, ETHNOPHONIE The End of the Millennium in the Romanian Village
CD 010, ETHNOPHONIE The late glory of the Musicians from Naipu
CD 019, ETHNOPHONIE Lăutarească Music with Vasile Năsturică's Ensemble
CD 009, ETHNOPHONIE Muzică veche din Moldova de Sus  
CD 101, ETHNOPHONIE Bazar. Cântări din veacul al XIX-lea. De Trei Parale (Partea II)
grit friedrichis a freelance journalist from Leipzig specialised in the music and culture of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. She works for various radio stations, including MDR FIGARO, WDR and DRadio Kultur, as well as the record labels Asphalt Tango and Oriente Musik. She has close ties with Romania – its traditional music, including fiddler’s music, as well as the contemporary multicultural music scene.
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