Various Artists

The Edge of the Forest: Romanian Music from Transylvania

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When Romania was ruled by the brutal communist regime of Nicolai Ceacestau, the East European country was hardly an attractive destination for visitors from the West. But with the overthrow and execution of Ceacestau in 1989 and the return to a free-market economy, traveling to Romania became much easier. And thus, it shouldn't be as difficult for western labels to document the richness of Romanian culture. Made only a few years after the 1989 revolution, these recordings (some instrumental, others with vocals) feature rural peasants of Transylvania (including Gypsies) who perform in various villages. The CD is fairly diverse -- "Bine Mai Era Odata," "Dant De Tipurit" and "Pe Marginea Padurii" are comparable to Middle Eastern forms, while such instrumentals as "De Inceput" and "Batute" bring to mind European classical music. (The excellent liner notes, in fact, point out Hungarian classical master Bela Bartok's interest in Transylvanian culture). But whatever the style, the violin is usually the main instrument on these soulful acoustic performances.

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