Category Archives: 1. Little Story

Damian Drăghici – star, gypsy, music, Mensa, poor, famous, generous, Grammy, Romanian, …


So … star, Gypsy, music, Mensa, poor, famous, generous, Grammy, Romanian, … can you put these words together? … You have to! ‘cause we are starting to talk about Damian Drăghici, the genius with panpipes … the one who makes us forget the appearances and believe in destiny.

Damian Draghici was born in a family of musicians, traditionally gypsy music (lăutărească). He started playing at the age of three … cymbal, piano, contrabass, skins … at the age of ten, panpipes … and this was what he  has chosen for life.

Maybe without a traditionally education, he said he was never interested in school (as many gifted children), but with a strong musical education, from a family with many generations of musicians, starting learning at a very young age, always interested in “the music that chosen him” … in fact, some of these details can be found in many biographies of great musicians, from classic to modern music.

Really gifted, he was soon renowned as prodigy in Romania, participations of National festivals and concerts. Then invitations to play abroad, 1885 Denmark, again in 1987, 1988 the invitation of Richard Clayderman … all refused by the communist regime.

In 1988 he left clandestinely crossed the border at Timişoara in Yugoslavia, he walked many kilometers intending to get in Italy, but finally arriving in Greece … there he played initially at tables for money, then he succeeded in  playing keyboards in clubs … then, after a jazz concert with only four-five as audience, he decided to risk again for making what he always wished, real music.

The first step was a contract in Holland, a CD with Sony Music and then “the American dream”. He, “the Romanian gypsy”, dares to participate to an audition for Berklee College of Music, Boston and he obtained a full scholarship. He wasn’t having the money to get there, but they wanted him deeply so resolved this too. He finished Berklee College in one year and two months instead of four years with Magna Cum Laude; Damian Drăghici, obviously a phenomenon.

Someone that saw him so “rapid” in everything, always “bored”, speaking quickly, searching for something new, proposed him to give a Mensa test, he took this one too, Damian Drăghici is now a Mensa’s member.

In America, he becomes recognized for his outstanding talent …. release Damian’s Fire with the London Symphony Orchestra and musicians such as Dave Weckl, Neil Stubenhaus, Jimmy Johnson, John Robinson, Mike Miller, Ramon Stagnaro, Luis Conte … then in 2004 he joined as one of the headliners the Night of the Proms along with James Brown, Joe Cocker, Shaggy, Cyndi Lauper, Zucchero, Gypsy Kings, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), The Pointer Sisters … and also a Grammy prize.

We can definitely say that Damian Drăghici lived in America “the American dream”, but this wasn’t his dream … he started speaking about his depression in this world of glamour, “without substance, where everything is fake” for him … psychologists came into scene, the last one find the treatment: “You don’t need medicaments. Go back to your roots. Go back home”. Quincy Jones said the same thing “Damian, go home. What I did for black people, what Spielberg did for Jewish, you can make for Gypsies”.

The Project “Damian & Brothers” was for his soul, returning in Romania, playing with Romanians Gypsies … a show that went through all Europe, a project that finally lasted three years, not three months as he initially thought. His appearance also changed from the Hollywood one to a “free” one … getting some weighs, having beard, singing drunk … he was amazed how much money you can make beating the drum … how many women you can have (he’s a man after all) even if you don’t look “pretty” … how you have to return to jazz until you lost yourself.

And jazz it was, the “best” of it, in 2010 with Eddie Daniels and Diane Schuur and in 2011, Classical Meets Jazz with Nigel Kennedy.

Now, Damian Drăghici, gives us another lesson. He decided to give up music, something that he says he has done only for his ambition, in order to help the others. Damian Drăghici has now a foundation that helps gifted children.

For some reason, glory is never in enough, why  having a Grammy when you can have two, three, four … it never actually ends … and this is the lesson of Damian Drăghici, knowing to choose the “other” way.

I don’t know if Damian Drăghici is now happy, even I think that in different ways he has always been and he always will. I know he is making an enormous generous thing by helping gifted children, another reason for admiring him even more.

And I also think that he will return someday to music, because “music chosen him” first plays, but maybe this is just a thought of someone used to think in patterns.



“La blouse roumaine“ a story started by Matisse


As I said in an older post, in 1940 Henri Matisse painted “La blouse roumaine”, an innovator amazing painting that still charm, inspired by a genial manifestation in art, the traditional Romanian folk costumes.

Yves Saint Laurent

Attracted by the famous painting with the same name, Yves Saint Laurent created for autumn-winter 1981 collection, “La blouse roumaine” as homage to Henri Matisse.

Didier Grumbach, Dean at the French Institute of Fashion, said that for his Romanian collection, Yves Saint Laurent “had inspired from something that he loved most”, the models had also skirts stylized after the Romanian folk “fota” and the hair caught like the girls in the Romanian Villages.

The creation “La blouse romaine” remains one of the headlines for “the king of fashion” that is why it was one of the pieces that made the tour of museums around the world, arriving also in Romania in 2009 at The National Art Museum with the occasion of Fashion Festival “Pasarela”.

Jean Paul Gautier

Another great fashion designer, Jean Paul Gautier included in the autumn 2006 collection elements of ethnic Romanian inspiration.

Oscar de la Renta

Not once Oscar de la Renta was inspired by the “ethnic costume and the folkloric—European peasant embroidery” (Vogue). The creations inspired also by the Romanians folk costumes of Oscar de la Renta for spring 2008 were a great success. A unique collection, inspired by the peasants’ cloths but full of royalty grace to the richness of motives, the attention give to details, natural materials, handmade stitches of the Romanian folk reinvented with the genius of a great master.

Tom Ford

The spring of 2012 Tom Ford’s collection assemble elements of inspiration from Spain, South America, but also from Romania, Fagaras region more exactly. Adele posed for Vogue in this outfit by Tom Ford.

Philippe Guilet

After working for great names in the international fashion, the French designer Phillippe Guilet presented in november 2011 a collection tribute to Romania, the pays which temporally adopted him. Philippe Guilet, who was also trying to present a beautiful Romania, as he knew it after staying in Romania, was greatly appreciated by the fashion critics, an entirely favorable article being dedicated in Washington Post to his late collection.



The Romanian traditional folk costumes – source of inspiration (March 7, 2012)

Queen Mary of Romania – the first promoter of the Romanian folk costumes (April 25, 2012)

Angela Gheorghiu – 20 years at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House


I wanted many times to write about Angela Gheorghiu, but it’s so much, what to say first? …

Instead of introduction, in the world of ratting, I’ll say something I’ve read often: Angela Gheorghiu is “one of the most important artists of the classic music”, “one of the best-selling artists” nowadays.

Angela Gheorghiu has more than 25000 “friends” on Facebook; I’m, of course, one of them and recently she shared an interview of her for the Romanian television … so, I’ll start from this interview to speak about her… the destiny of Angela Gheorghiu, as she said, doesn’t started on a big stage, it started in Adjud, Romania where she was born in 1965 and started learning music. Then she graduated the Art College and The Conservatory in Bucharest. In 1985 she started the apparition at The Romanian Television.

During the Romanian Revolution, “between the noises of bullets” as she remembers, she received a call about the first invitation to an international event. So, this in how, in July 1990, being in the last year at the Conservatory in Bucharest, she was singing in Amsterdam, then in Basel and then, in 1992, at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House, London as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. After her debut, the BBC Chanel changed the program in order to transmit the amazing Covent Garden’s show with Angela Gheorghiu.

How is possible so soon, so young, such an important part in Covent Garden?

Only for a phenomenon is possible; and this is what Angela Gheorghiu is, a phenomenon of universal classic music.

After Coven Garden’s debut, followed the Vienna State Opera, Milan’s La Scala New York’s Metropolitan Opera … and here I’ll stop in the places listed because she played and plays actual everywhere … and I’ll list only some of her awards: Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’Or Awards, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Cecilia Prize, the Echo Award, the Italian Musica e dischi, Foreign Lyric Production Award, the USA Critics’ Award, … Angela Gheorghiu won also the title of Female Artist of the Year at the Classic Brit Awards in 2001 and 2010. She was appointed an Officer and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by France and Romanie. Angela Gheorghiu was also with “La Medaille Vermeille de la Ville de Paris” in France, Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Arts in Iasi and the Star of Romania, in the highest rank by the President of Romania.

Being many times called capricious because of her obsession for details and perfection, Angela Gheorghiu decided years ago to dedicate her life to stage and public, working only for this. She lived always with the idea of “what she is” and not “what she can become” believing in her destiny. She was also many times her own teacher, she worked many times alone, learning alone the plays.

About Romania, Angela Gheorghiu is saying that “Romania is her blood” and also, some of her important benchmarks are Romanians: the first voice recorded that impressed her was the one of the Romanian Virginia Zeani. She will always thank to two Romanians that marked her career, Iosif Sava and Luminita Constantinescu. Angela Gheorghiu was very reserved with her private live, but an interesting and nice thing is that her husband, the famous Roberto Alagna, learned Romanian, the language of her country, as she wished.

Another beautiful present for her native Romania is singing one or two Romanian songs in every of her concerts.

A gesture of profound generosity was her initiative in the promotion of Romanian young talents, many being invited to play in her spectacles worldwide, like Teodor Ilincai, Stefan Pop, Iulia Isaev, Vlad Mirita, Marius Manea, Irina Iordachescu.

Two pop projects and clips in Romania were “Numele tau” (“Your name”) with Stefan Banica and, more recently, “Nu mai e timp!” (“There’s no time!”) with the pop-rock band Holograf. She also participated in Romania in the concerts for the Days of Bucharest.

In 2011, Angela Gheorghiu accepted the proposal of recording the album “Homage to Maria Callas”, not an easy task regarding the difficult repertory and the responsibility for the “great” Maria Callas. An unprecedented clip was turned in Romania as part of this project, a clip that puts together “on the same stage” the interpretation of Habanera by Maria Callas in 1963 and by Angela Gheorghiu in 2011 … “the queens of opera music finally together”, one of the comment on YouTube.

This year, 20 years from the debut of Angela Gheorghiu at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House, London, a spectacle dedicated to her and Roberto Alagna will take place in order to celebrate this event.


Ioan Petru Culianu – mysteries in life and death


In 21 May 1991, at only 42 years old, Ioan Petru Culianu, Professor of the Religion  history  at the University of Chicago, was shot once in the back of the head. The murder took place in the bathroom of Swift Hall of the University of Chicago in a day when the building was full with visitors to a book sale.

Why and by who? is a question that still remains without answer.

But who was he? Ioan Petru Culianu, as many as you already know, was a Romanian historian of religion and culture, a short story writer, philosopher and political essayist, born in 1950 in Iasi, Romania.

In an interview made in 1990 by his student Emanuel Guano he said that he had decided to become a writer at  the age of 13 choosing between physics and literature as a carrier for live. At the age of 17 years old, he has already started being published in Romania. As student at the University of Bucharest he was studying also the history of religious, dreaming going in Indi as Mircea Eliade once did. After refusing the collaboration with the Romanian Security (Romanian Intelligence) during the communist period, in 1970, his new book was censored. In 1972, he leaves the country (some say that he succeeds in leaving Romania because finally he collaborates) to travel in Italy where he had obtained political asylum and then a scholarship.  He later graduated from the Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore in Milan. He lived briefly in France and the Netherlands, before leaving Europe for Chicago.

After leaving Romania, he tried many times to go in Chicago at Mircea Elide. Shortly, he became the most loved and respected student of Mircea Eliade, he worked with him at the final tome of the notorious “Historian of religions” and at “Dictionnaire des Religions”. One of the three last wishes of the great philosopher and expert in religions’ history Mircea Eliade was that all of his manuscripts to be left to Ioan Petru Culianu, “the only friend to whom he has so many to say”, the only one who has the knowledge to understand. After the death of Ioan Petru Culianu, the manuscripts of Mircea Eliade were taken by the University of Chicago and then donated to the Louvre Museum.

Ioan Petru Culianu, being proficient in seven languages (Sanskrit, Hindi, French, Italian, German, Greek, English) and completed three doctorates (one in Milano, Italy and two in Sorbonne, France), was an encyclopedic personality. His studies were focusing on the interrelation of the Occult, Eros, Magic, History and Physics being specialized in Renaissance magic and mysticism. Some of his later studies were trying to decode the “myth” that lays in physics, like in Einstein equations upon universe and so to find the bridges between science and religion, mystic, history. Being seen by some criticizes more as a Faust with successful books in libraries than as a savant, Ioan Petru Culianu was definitely attracted in his work by dark, occult, demons.

After the Romanian Revolution in 1989, Ioan Petru Culianu criticized the new power in Bucharest, calling it just a new communist. He was also against the rights political Romanian formations, making requests for investigation of Holocaust in Romania during the war. That is why some say he was murdered by the Romanian Security or by KGB, some by the neo-fascist involvement.

Apparently, in the last years of his live, he was starting to attend occult movements, secrets societies. Experts in occultism see his dead as a punishment; he was killed in the closet just for having a degrading death. Many aspects of his live remain a mystery and his death, “the perfect murder”, the greater of his mysteries.

I let you choose a script for his live, “Nikita” or “Da Vinci’s Code”? Or maybe “Alias” because this one has both, secret services and secret societies.


Gheorghe Leonida – Romanian contribution to “Cristo Redentor”


Visiting in Romania Bran Castle, Peles Castle, The Museum of the Technique or The Romania’s Art Museum, you can find works of the sculptor Gheorghe Leonida like  “Eve”, “The Reader”, “The Wounded Soldier”, “Prometheus” , “The Gymnast”, “A Seated Woman”, “Saint George Killing the Dragon”.

But  Gheorghe Leonida’s name became famous after his contribution at the statue “Cristo Redentor” (“Christ the Redeemer”)  in Rio de Janeiro, edifice classified in 2007 as one of the seven new wonders of the world.

From a family who gave Romania also other great personalities (inventor Dimitrie Leonida and one of the world’s first women engineers Elisa Leonida), Gheorghe Leonida was born in Galati, Romania in 1893. He studied sculpture at the Fine Arts Conservatory in Bucharest, than he continued his studies for three years in Italy where he gained also a prize with his sculpture “Reveil” (the Dream). Gheorghe Leonida lived than in Paris where his work “Le Diable” (the Devil) was awarded the Grand Prize.

Becoming famous in France as portraitist,  he was included by Paul Landowsky in the team that started working at the gigantic statue from Rio de Janeiro in 1922. Gheorghe Leonida contributed to portraying Jesus Christ’s face, which made him famous worldwide.

The communist regime in Romania banned Gheorghe Leonida especially for his work entitled “Queen Marie’s Bust” which depicts queen Marie of Edinburgh, the wife of King Ferdinand. That is why the work of Gheorghe Leonida was not publicized in Romania for many years.

“Cristo Redentor” (“Christ the Redeemer”) 

“Christ the Redeemer” is a statue of Jesus Christ located at 700 meters altitude on the Corcova Mountain, overlooking Rio de Janeiro city. It is considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world and 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world: 39.6 meters tall, 9.5 meters pedestal, 30 meters wide, 635 tones. “Christ the Redeemer” is now more than a monument is a symbol of Christianity worldwide.

The statue was designed by the local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, sculpted by the team conducted by the French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by a group of engineers and technicians in reinforced concrete after the plans of Albert Caquot. The construction took nine years, from 1922 to 1931.

Christ the Redeemer was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a list compiled by the Swiss-based The New Open World Corporation in 2007 and declared a protected monument by the National Heritage Institute in 2009.


The Romanian traditional folk costumes – source of inspiration


One of the things that impressed me the most were the Romanian traditional costumes kept with great care by my grandmother. Initially worn by her grandmother, with an age of more than 120 years, its represent one of the most amazing forms of art.

Kept with great care in many Romanian families for generations, the traditional costumes are all made manually only with natural fibers coloured only with natural coloures. Sometimes made from one of the most fine material, floss silk, hand embroidered, with a stitch point that is just as thin as you can see. The models are very varied, increadibly richeness patterns, with typical models for each region of the country.

                              Brooklyn Museum, USA

I don’t have the education to be in rightful to speak about the Romanian traditional costumes, but I would like to remind some of the great creators that were inspired by the Romanian traditional folk costumes.

Henri Matisse – La blouse roumaine (The Romanian Blouse)

The celebre Henri Matisse, recognized initially as a „Fauve”, an upholder in fact of the classical tradition in French painting, was fascinated by the Romanian traditional folk costumes, especially by the specific blouse named “ie”.

The Romanian blouses were received by Henri Matisse as a present from his friend, the Romanian painter Theodor Pallady.

In 1940, during the hard period of war, Henri Matisse painted “La blouse roumaine”, one of his masterpieces.

Recently, Antonio Mega Ferreira  has launched at Lisbon a new novel “A blusa romena” inspired by the celebre painting of Henry Matisse.



“La blouse roumaine“ a story started by Matisse (March 18, 2012)

Queen Mary of Romania – the first promoter of the Romanian folk costumes (April 25, 2012)

Brancusi – the symbol of kiss


On Facebook  … one of my friend, after visiting London, posted a picture with Tate Modern … Rodin’s Kiss, one of three full-scale versions being there … passionate love, wonderful embrace … a powerful kiss without actually touching lips … and beyond, the captivating story of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta … a really masterpiece.

Then, another Facebook friend  … pictures from Louvre … one of them „Psyche revived by the kiss of Love” … Antonio Canova … I still remember the feeling of seeing it … so perfect in everything … one of the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen … the image, the feeling … never will forget.

News on Facebook, the most known sculptures … number six – The Kiss by Rodin, number five – The Kiss by Brancusi … Brancusi’s kiss is definitely the one which inspired the most artists, hundreds of variants after “The Kiss” of Brancusi still occur … embrace in a block of stone … bond and passion … so close and tight that no one can come between … the everlasting idea of love.

What is the most beautiful kiss in sculpture? Can you choose?

For me … maybe because I have  lived in this century and so I feel better the modern art … or maybe just because of being Romanian … Brancusi’s kiss is the most powerful.

When I’m thinking of the image of kiss … this idea is best represented in my mind by the symbol of “The Gate of Kiss” by Brancusi … what can be more „kiss” than two halves becoming one? … and what can be more  „one” than a circle ?  … so beautiful throw simplicity … the quintessential representation of love.

This gate of transition to another life is like a temple of love. Symbolising more than the union of the man and his woman, “The Gate of Kiss” represent the triumph of life over death through the love for each other, the central part of orthodox faith. Combining elements of traditional Romanian art with the simplicity of life and love of the Romanian peasants, the abstract Brancusi’s masterpiece is like a metaphor for the Romanian spirit.