Oana Cătălina Chiţu
Divine –Romanian Songs from the repertoire of Maria Tănase (1913-1963) (Asphalt Tango Records, 2013)
Berlin-based Romanian singer Oana Cătălina Chiţu uses her outstanding voice to sing the essential repertoire of one of Romania’s most cherished performers of the 20th century, Maria Tănase. Oana Cătălina Chiţu has taken these popular songs and gave them a makeover, making them modern in a sense but also timeless at the same time.
Chiţu’s current band is a multinational cast of master instrumentalists who dazzle the listener with superb arrangements and instrumental passages on the violin, accordion and cimbalom. Musicians include Serbian accordion virtuoso Dejan Jovanovic; cimbalom maestro Valeriu Cascaval; the engaging fiddle of Slavici Anton; Alexej Wagner on guitar; Alexander Franz on double bass; Philipp Bernhardt on drums; and Vladimir Karparov on saxophone and clarinet.
Naturally, the foundation of Divine is Romanian music, including folk, cabaret and Roma (Gypsy). However, other musical influences have worked their way in, including tango, blues, Gypsy jazz and flamenco.
“My father had a very nice voice and he used to sing some of these old songs and told me a bit about their history,” Oana Cătălina Chiţu remembers affectionately.
“I feel there are still too many great songs from that era that need to be rediscovered,” adds Chiţu. “The music from that era is so emotionally intense, something that is a bit lacking in today’s music – and I want to re-acquaint my audience with those emotions and that intensity.”
The attractive CD booklet contains details about the life of Maria Tănase, lyrics in Romanian with translations to English and information about biographical information about Oana Cătălina Chiţu.
Divine is an exceptionally good collection of 20th century songs by the splendid Oana Cătălina Chiţu, one of the finest performers of Romanian music of our times.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.