December 1st, Romania’s National Day, would normally have caught us at the opening of Christmas fairs, drinking mulled wine and listening to various bands pour their soul out onto a stage in the middle of the University Square. Right now, we’re reporting from our kitchens, skimming through DIY mulled wine recipes with live stream music bellowing from the other room.
Coming through from Bucharest, Romania, once again, amongst TikTok dances, secretly binge-watching ‘Emily in Paris’, proudly praising ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and other covert forms of escapist anthems of these last few months, Romanian music is still alive and kicking.
Although the beginning of the pandemic did see everyone putting pressure on themselves by trying to come up with solutions for something that could not have been handled on the spot, with immediate results (hence the TikTok dances), it seems like things have settled in when it comes to the music industry, as online events keep popping up, festivals have found their place on a variety of platforms, and, though remote, live performances keep knocking it out of the park.
Mainstream acts are now much more in touch with their fan bases, working with local visual artists for their videos – such as this Inna X RADAR feature; however, returning to the title of our newsletter, Togetherness got the shape of a transgenerational collaboration between 4 polar-opposite music genres representatives – Adi Despot (lead singer of Vița de Vie, a rock band), Killa Fonic (a trap artist), Adi de la Vâlcea (a manele artist), and Ovidiu Lipan Țăndărica (the drummer from Roșu și Negru, a staple folk-rock band during Romania’s communist period) – an intriguing marketing move made by a local delivery service that many found endearing and fun.
Vaccine updates aside, another thing that prompted us to daydream about an outdoorsy summer has also been the headline announcement made by Electric Castle, one of the biggest Romanian music festivals. The promise of seeing Gorillaz, Deftones, and Twenty One Pilots in July 2021 could not have come at a better time. Nevertheless, what truly dominated the music news was the Government’s Funding Scheme for the Romanian cultural scene, which has generated quite a lot of buzz.
It came much later than in other countries, such as France, Belgium, or Germany, where the music sector has always been recognized as an essential piece of the cultural arena, intrinsically tied to the country’s cultural identity. That has not necessarily been the case for Romanian music – only in the past 30 years saw it blooming without any significant setbacks. Fortunately, this door has just opened and it may very well lead to many other discussions in the future.
It’s encouraging to see how uncertainty is not allowed to settle in the air, that being comfortable with disquiet, or perceiving it with familiarity is not even considered an option. Even though the tendency to give in to sulking because of restrictions seems stronger than ever, hope always comes along – be it in the guise of an alternative banana bread recipe, the idea of hearing ‘On Melancholy Hill’ live next year, or a loved one saying “I’ll see you soon”.
Until next time!