Georghe Zampir & Friends,
Folksongs from Rumania
(Delta, 1990)

As soon as you hit the play button, Folksongs from Rumania launches so quickly into "Joc de Doi de la Mehadica (Dance from Mehadica)," it is almost startling. This high-speed number will have you bouncing in your seat and tapping your toes as fast as they can move. The high-speed fiddle is particularly impressive.

"Dance on the Bagpipe" features a bagpipe played in a Gypsy style. Unfortunately, it is a short piece that is finished all too soon. "Dance from Oltenien" is another extremely fast fiddle tune that makes you want to dance.

Georghe Zampir really works his panflute over in "Dance from Listeava" and "Joc de Doi," with the second piece being performed more slowly, but at higher pitches and with more staccato. They leave you sitting slack-jawed, wondering how fast this man can possibly play. To say that it's impressive is an understatement.

"Dance from Bihor" sounds more like a military march than anything else. It is distinctly different from the others and has more emphasis on the bass. Slower than the others, it is more urgent in delivery.

Marin Chisar plays a high-pitched flute that sounds almost like a whistle in "Girl's Dance." This is a fun tune with handclaps accenting the chorus. "Invirtita" is slow and works waves of crescendos in orchestral fashion. This would be a nice song for a couple to share. Chisar trades his flute for a caval in "Dance from Goica" and demonstrates precision through flutters and trills.

I found the cimbalom, played by Toni Lordache, in "Doina Oltului" to be mesmerizing. It had me leaning back in my chair and closing my eyes. I felt like a snake being charmed. It seemed to reach into my soul and comfort me in an eerie kind of way. It became my favorite, although "The Nightingale" with Zamfir on a relaxed panflute at a super-slow speed came in a close second. The deep notes in the background add to the flute work and set an overall dark, nocturnal feeling. (This piece lasts for just over 10 minutes and if you are not careful, it will put you to sleep.)

This is an energetic music that invigorates the listeners with some selections and relaxes them with others. This collection would be ideal for an outdoor gathering where the people had plenty of room to dance and whirl.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 5 June 2004