Romanian music is a mix of modern music of a variety of styles and folk music. And unlike other areas and countries where folk music kind of waned during the 20th century, Romanian folk music didn’t really lose footing and still has quite a following. Several folk musicians have even risen to international fame. Because of its location, Romanian folk music draws influences from both Russian and Western traditions.
Styles of folk music vary among the different regions. However, there are a few things that bind them all. First of all, the use of the violin is prevalent as far as instrumentation goes. Woodwinds such as pipes/flutes and taragot (related to a clarinet and saxophone) are also commonly played with the violin as well as a variety of drums. In some areas, brass instruments like the trumpet are used. String instruments like guitar, double bass, and cobza (related to a lute) are also commonly played alone and in ensembles. One of my favorite instruments, the accordion, is also sometimes used, as is the bagpipes.
One of the most well known styles of folk music is the doina. There’s a corresponding dance that goes with it. Meaning “shepherd’s lament,” it has its roots in both Romanian music and Middle Eastern music. There are several variations to it.
Folk dancing is also highly based on region. Many of the traditional folk music styles have dances that go along with them. Some of the dances commonly performed in Romania include the Arcan, Sârba, Hora, Calusari, Legényes, and Perinita. Bela Bartok was actually so enamored with Romanian folk dancing that he wrote his own Romanian Folk Dances. There’s actually a Romanian folk dance group out of Canton, Ohio, who performs many of these dances and promotes the culture. I didn’t know there was something like this just in the next state.
As far as popular music goes, I listened to several genres. They draw much of their influences by the rest of Europe and the US. When it comes to pop-techno and electronica, I listened to Tom Boxer (the album I listened to was almost like an homage to Brazil), Morandi (kind of ambient techno mixed with world beat and pop), Akcent (pop + autotune + quasi-trance), Edward Maya (pop-trance), Alexandra Stan (pop mixed with Latin influence), Inna (dance-pop + a little bit of hip-hop + Latin), and Yarabi (dance-pop).
There are a few hip-hop groups I listened to. The first was R.A.C.L.A. and the second was Parazitii. Both had a decent flow and music that had a good beat. And both had enough diversity in their songs, so that each song sounds different from the next one. I also listened to B.U.G. Mafia. They tend to mix in strings and flutes (or something like it) into their music.
I also listened to several rock bands as well: Timpuri Noi (pop-rock), Celelalte Cuvinte (kind of indie rock), Transylvania Phoenix (older folk rock), Mondial (probably more pop than rock), Holograf (indie rock), Bosquito (indie rock), Voltaj (alternative rock), VH2 (softer mainstream rock), and La Familia (ska, punk).
Up next: the food