Tag Archives: muzica

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

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So … star, Gypsy, music, Mensa, poor, famous, generous, Grammy, Romanian, … can you put these words together? … You have to! 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, contrabas, 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, participation 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 and so this was 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 medicament. 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 if 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, but maybe this is just a thought of someone used to think in patterns.

photo: last.fm, cinemagia.ro, a1.ro, cultural-china.com, adevarul.ro

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

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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.

photo: roportal.ro