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"Supărată sunt pe lume" – Gabi Luncă, a great voice of the golden generation of Lautari music, died.

De Grit Friedrich| 03 Aprilie, 2021 | Categorie: muzicieni remember | Vizualizări: 3205

Anyone visiting Bucharest in the 1980s could experience two very different worlds, state folklore with songs about the golden age proclaimed by Ceaușescu and vital suburban music (muzică lăutărească) played at private parties. Gabi Luncă songs were the quiet ones, the wistful ones, songs about passion and longing for the parental home, or the lost mother, the lost beloved. Songs that take the pressure off the soul, like "Omul Bun n-are noroc" (The good man has no luck) or "Supărată sunt pe lume" (Sad I am in the world). Often copied but unmatched is her silvery, slightly pressed singing, although she "always sang a little off the beat", as accordionist Victor Gore recalled in 2007.

Gabi Luncă was, along with Romica Puceanu, the most appreciated female interpreter of Romanian muzică lăutărească, music which developed at the outscirts of cities like Bucharest or Ploiești. But unlike the sensual and hard-drinking Romica Puceanu, the life of Gabi Luncă was without debauchery. Because of her carefully chosen stage clothes and great professionalism she has called herself "Țigancă de mătase", (Gypsy woman of silk). Gabi Luncă played with the taraf of Aurel and Victor Gore until her marriage to Ion Onoriu. Later she was in the studio with the trumpeter Costel Vasilescu, the tzimbalom god Toni Iordache and other big names of the Bucharest Lautari scene. In the last years of the Ceaușescu regime, her urban repertoire was nevertheless played on the radio in the early mornings; the real fans set their watches according to the radio programme, and listened to the pearly voice of this singer over a cup of cold Ness coffee before going to the factory. Gabi Luncă hails from Vărbilău, a village in the Prahova Valley, where restaurant owners from Ploiești or the Black Sea hired often musicians. In the course of her career, which began with folk songs, Gabi Luncă has successfully become the grand dame of Lautari music. Born in 1938, she grew up in the forties as one of 12 children of the Roma violinist Dumitru Lunca, her mother died when she was three. She never forgot those early years in poverty. But there was the radio and there were songs by her icon Maria Lătărețu, whom she was to meet on her first trip to Bucharest.

In the mid-fifties, Gabi Luncă went to one of the numerous regional music competitions for amateurs, she sang with a power and virtuosity that earned her thunderous applause and the winner's diploma. The slender girl from the countryside received a call from the renowned orchestra leader Ionel Budișteanu, who wanted to record some songs with her as soloist. The first record, the first money, then another few years in the countryside, until Gabi Luncă  moved to Bucharest and married the accordionist Ion Onoriu at the age of 26. With him she formed a „firma“ and performed regularly in garden pubs, made appearances on radio and television and played at private celebrations of Romanians and the Roma community. In one evening hard working musicians like her could earn more money than a factory worker in a month. She also performed in the USA or Israel, for Romanian emigrants in particular. And she regularly recorded for Electrecord vinyls, which got cult status, the reissues fed the Romanian label for years. The singer narrowly escaped death in the earthquake in March 1977. Actually, she was supposed to sing that evening in the town of Zimnicea at the House of Culture, but because Ion Onoriu thought the venue was too small, the tour caravan turned to Slatina, Zimnicea was wiped off the map that night and almost completely destroyed.

Since the beginning of the nineties, Gabi Luncă sang almost exclusively at the services of Pentecostal churches in Romania and the USA and rarely appeared on Romanian television. A selection of her songs was reissued by the Berlin based Label Asphalt Tango Records, in the award winning series Sounds From A Bygone Age. Gabi Luncă, the last diva of the golden generation of the Bucharest Lautari scene, died on 2nd of April in Bucharest, 82 years old. When I met her last time in 2018 she said "We stopped when we had fantastic success, but we had respect for our music. And I don't see anyone who can continue on my path. Why? There are some young people who have very good voices, with which they can sing anything, any ornamentation. But they don't know which direction to go in, they sing in the Bulgarian or Serbian style, I don't know what they want to show with that, but Lautari music today really leaves a lot to be desired. I am sorry that it is disappearing."

More here:

Foto Thomas Dorn, Grit Friedrich, Electrecord

More here  at the MDR Kultur Radio


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Despre autor

Grit Friedrich
GRIT FRIEDRICH este jurnalist freelancer din Leipzig, specializată pe muzica și cultura din Europa de Est și Sudest. Lucrează pentru mai multe radiouri printre care MDR KULTUR, WDR și Deutschlandfunk Kultur, ca și pentru casele de discuri Asphalt Tango și Oriente Musik. Are legături strânse cu România – cu muzicile tradiționale, nu în ultimul rând cele lăutărești, dar și cu scena multicul-turală contemporană.