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Gabi Lunca, Sounds From A Bygone Age volume 5

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:16 pm
by Gordon Neill
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‘Sounds From A Bygone Age’ must surely be one of the greatest series of reissues in recent years. And this Gabi Lunca compilation is well up to standard.

I know that there’s some people in this world who don’t take to this style of Romanian gypsy music from the 1960s and 70s. I think it’s the tzimbal and violin backing which makes them fumble for their headache pills. So if you haven’t been bowled over by the earlier Toni Iordache, Dona Dumitru Siminica or Romica Puceanu CDs then you’ll probably want to sit this one out as well. But you’ll be missing out on some sublime, soulful melancholic music of the highest order. You don't want to do that, do you?

Yup! I just love this stuff. It’s Gabi Lunca’s voice that does it for me. Her voice isn’t as big and powerful as Romica Puceanu’s. It’s softer and with a slightly breathy quality. And very soulful. I’ve no idea what she’s singing about, but I believe every word. And the accordian playing from husband Ion Onoriu is also spot on.

It’s difficult to pick any standout tracks as they’re pretty well all standing up on their tippy-toes wanting attention. The opener, ‘Omul Bun N-Are Noroc’ is rather good, but it also appears on the Toni Iordache compilation, volume 4 of this series (which is a bit mean). If I had to pick any favourites though, I‘d go for ‘Dă, Mamă, Cu Bicu-N Mine!’ and ‘Pomule, De Ce Te-Apleci‘. But I could well go for others on a different day. ‘Hora’ is also a surprising favourite. It’s one of two instrumentals (the other is a mildly comic-sounding harmonica-led piece, which makes me think of Benny Hill) . Presumably these don’t actually feature Gabi, but they do provide some nice variation .

As ever with this series, the sound quality, sleeve notes and presentation are terrific.

****

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:47 pm
by Charlie
Agree with every word.

But anyone who has the double CD Gypsy Queens on Network Medien will have some of these tracks already

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:52 pm
by Nigel w
a mildly comic-sounding harmonica-led piece, which makes me think of Benny Hill


Now there's a thought. Who will be the first to rush into print with the definitive article about the influence of world music on Benny Hill and how Ernie the Fastest Milkman In The West was actually the first world music record to top the British charts? Songlines or f-Roots?

Open the door Homer

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:16 pm
by Gordon Neill
a mildly comic-sounding harmonica-led piece, which makes me think of Benny Hill

For some reason, when I listened to the track (Formatia Ritmic), I had an image of Benny in traditional Gypsy garb chasing a clutch of scantily-clad gypsyettes. I thought it was just me having one of my moments. But Charlie said that he 'agreed with every word'. So his mind must wander off a bit as well.

As for Benny's links with world music? Nope. That's got me stumped. All I can think of is his musical connection with Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Brenda Lee.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:01 pm
by mike gavin
But anyone who has the double CD Gypsy Queens on Network Medien will have some of these tracks already


4 tracks of the 6 on the Network set are in common with the Asphalt Tango set.
Gypsy Queens is the template for the fantastic Sounds of a Bygone Age series with tracks from Romica Puceanu and Esma Redzepova as well as Gabi from the archives.
http://www.networkmedien.de/produkte-pr ... 67-en.html
for more info

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:58 pm
by garth cartwright
Yes, this is a lovely album from the last survivor of the golden age of Romanian Gypsy music. I'm off to Bucharest to interview her and one of the surviving studio musicians in a week's time (for fR) so if anyone has any questions they'd like asked please leave them here. She's never done any Western media interviews before - these days she tends to sing only for a Pentecosal church - so let's hope she is happy to talk about the good old bad days when communism ruled and Romania had a wonderful living music tradition.

Re: Gabi Lunca, Sounds From A Bygone Age volume 5

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:21 pm
by Con Murphy
Gordon Neill wrote:I know that there’s some people in this world who don’t take to this style of Romanian gypsy music from the 1960s and 70s. I think it’s the tzimbal and violin backing which makes them fumble for their headache pills.


I'm not always that keen on the tzimbal/cymbalom when it is a focal point, but I think it's fair to say that generally speaking the instrument is a lot less to the fore on the rest of the album than it is on that Toni Iordache track (with the exception of the last track, maybe). It's where it should be as far as I'm concerned, as a playful adjunct to the underlying rhythm that supports the violin and accordion, and Gabi's smokily seductive, slightly nasal voice. Definitely a 5-star album from a 5-star series as far as I'm concerned.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:18 pm
by mike gavin
Gypsy Queens is the template for the fantastic Sounds of a Bygone Age series


Just to point out that I don't mean that Asphalt Tango copied Network in any way. The Bygone Age series came from label boss Henry Ernst's 'old dream to do something with the great stuff he found on Romanian flea markets in the 80s' - they're both equally fine compilations

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:21 pm
by Con Murphy
garth cartwright wrote:I'm off to Bucharest to interview her and one of the surviving studio musicians in a week's time (for fR) so if anyone has any questions they'd like asked please leave them here.


Am I too late? Not so much a question, as an observation about the dichotomy between Gabi's Christianity and her popularity with religion-represser Ceausescu. Then her subsequent decision to only sing in Pentecostal churches (I think?) since the fall of Communism. What were the restrictions on her doing that during the Ceausescu regime, what compromises did she have to take, what might her career have been like in a less tyrannical country (ie would she ever have even left the church), etc?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:12 pm
by garth cartwright
I leave on Monday, Con, so will attempt to ask. I'm not sure if the Pentecostal thing is purely a business move - just as a lot of old soul singers go "gospel" when no longer scoring r&b hits - or something she leapt at when Ceausescu fell. She was impossible to get an intv with when I was researching Princes so I hope she is open to talking this time.