Europopnewsletter September 2013



the online magazine and encylopedia about european pop and rock music


Newsletter, September 2013


"Hello Europopmusic fans..."


This summer we decided to investigate Romania. And what a wonderfull trip it has been. Nature, culture, good food, excellent wine and a whole new musical spectrum to dig our teeth..err...ears in. Reason enough to make our september issue a Romania special with music news, artist updates and reviews.

But of course there is more new music form other countries as well. The coming months we predict a whole heap of new releases from France (Etienne Daho, Brigitte Fontaine), Finland (Pariisin Kevat, Jenny Vartiainen), Germany (2Raumwohnung) and so on. And maybe even better, our fifth anniversary is coming up. But that is all still in the future. For now, as always: ENJOY THE MUSIC.


  Music news and background articles  

Bună ziua! - Focus on Romania
We admit it, even we were somewhat prejudice about Romania. Located at the far Eastern border of the territory we tackle on this blog the local Romanian popmusic history and current music groups eluded us somewhat. Of course, International press heralds the local gypsy brass music scene with Fanfare Ciocărlia and Taraf de Haidouks. And the Eurovision gave us more commercial glimpses. But was that all? There’s just one way to find out so we packed our bags and travelled to the land of Vlad, polenta and wooden churches to find out for ourselves. And what a suprise journey it’s been. Not only did any prejudice we have in the West turned out to be overaccetured and was it one of the more relaxed and scenic travels we made so far. The music scene was far more divers then expected. We found music that is rooted deep into Romanian every day life. Commercial radio on your car-stereo is dominated by a station called Kiss FM, who showers you with simple breezy local housy hiphoptunes with nonsense English lyrics. 80% is utter crap with a capital ‘C’ but fun to listen to (‘Tenerifeeee!!’). The other dominant station is Favorit bombarding you with anonymous traditional folksingers. But be strong and weed through that, dear music fans. We bumped into a band called byron that just released an amazing intelligent alternative popalbum. Next to that singer/songwriter Mihai Mărgineanu surprised us with a smart and inspiring mix of gypsy-blues, pop, avant garde and jazz. And we introduced ourselves to the catalogue of Loredana Groza. A singer that takes the brass/folk music and mashes and mixes it with dance and hiphop. And even Kiss FM came up with the summer hit of 2013 by singer Andra and the supercatchy ‘Inevitabil va fi bine’. And from there we went backtracking to the sixties and seventies when progrock (you already know Phoenix), singersongwriters and beatmusic tried to fight the official party line. Who themselves tried to be modern with a sort of Romanian folkchanson (with also some really good vocalists). It was enough info to thoroughly update our Romania info page in the encyclopedia and make our homepage a Romania special this month. (Go to the Romania page on our site)

Mihai Mărgineanu speaks:
"Everything starts somewhere in the past"t

Whilst in Romania we came across the artist Mihai Mărgineanu whose 2012 CD ‘Zaritza’ was still on the topchart shelves of the media stores. An interesting artist that started fairly late. His music is inspired by urban folklore, hiphop and alternative pop. According to Romanian wiki’s his lyrics are often explicit. His first songs were recorded in 2005 , was initially intended for a limited group of friends. Later, the songs were spread on the internet, and the author has gained popularity. By now he is a household name in Romania and considered somewhere between avant garde and mainstream. His songs about gypsies, vagabonds and rural life pleasing young and old. Because the album was released in 2012 we could not give it a review but what better then let Mihai introduce himself in pieces of interviews we found on the web. Read the interview here.

Romanian underground musicians mingle in protest against goldmine plan in Rosia Montana

The first of september downtown Bukarest was the scene of of protesters challenging the approval by the Government of mining at Rosia Montana. The underground music scene also started to making themselves present on the subject fronted by Şerban Copot (aka Hienă), frontman of technopunk act Animal X. Serban is the president of a non-governmental organization, "Generaţia Verde" (Generation Green) and very active in environmental issues by promoting cooperation between NGOs, government, profit sector and other institutions, a free exchange of information and public participation in environmental decision-making surroundings.

The Animal X frontman took part in street protests along with other underground artists, including Aforic, Norzeatic and Gnom. The cause for the debate and the protetst is the cancellation of the contract with the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) preventing them from cyanide mining ban in Romania and giving opportunity to introduce Rosia Montana in UNESCO. Campaigners have criticised the "special national interest" status the bill would give the mine, which would allow the Romanian branch of Gabriel Resources, Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, to move the few remaining landowners off the site through compulsory purchase orders.


Classic Europopmusic Album:
Phoenix - Cantofabule (1975)

In 1975 Romania wasn’t the best country to record rock ’n roll. Still, in that year, local progressive rockband Phoenix recorded a double album that in retrospect is amazing. Not because they found a way to get the communist censors in releasing the album but also that they were able to record a very complex album under circumstances that were technilogical poor. Phoenix was already a band that sought the borders of what was allowed ever since the end of the sixties. With already two interesting folkrock albums on their name and a growing popularity they found some liberty to undertake an ambitious project that would be released under the name 'Cantofabule'. A psych-folk concept album about magical creatures and the phoenix rising from its ashes to burn his enemies. Although cryptic in its critique the communist censors allowed the album to be released. Over the years the album would gain legendary status even up having bootlegs on the Western market. In Romania the album is now regarded as maybe the best album the local rock scene has produced during the Cold War. Some even dare to say that it can match some of the Anglo-American progressive rockalbums released in the seventies. That is maybe a bit exaggerated but fact is that "Cantofabule' is without a doubt a classic Eurorock album. Read more about the album.


Eefje de Visser:
Het is...
Nicu Alifantis:
√ (Racine Carrée)
30 de secunde de faimă
Ieva Narkuté:
  Europopmusic artists (added to the encyclopedia)  

Loredana (Romania)

Loredana is a ball of energy. Our first encounter was the brass and percussion infuesed ‘Made in Romanie’ that will leave you breathless even if you’re not dancing. Loredana’s output in the new age is a sort of Goran Bregovic meets Shantel with powerfull female vocals. The albums start of with basic idea of adapting and interpreting Romanian music and then she throws in techno, hiphop and pop. Compared to that her early material sounds dated and radiofriendly easy pop. The flashy sexy imagery she uses to style her music makes her an easy target for the ‘serious music critics’ but fact is that as an orginal pop – icon in control of her career she is the closest thing you will get North and South of the Carpathian mountains...Go to artist page


Nicu Alifantis (Romania)

You have the kind of songwriters that just seem to enjoy the fact that they can hold a guitar and mumble something in a microphone. And bore you to death. On the other hand you have singer/songwriters like Alifantis that seem to breathe soul into a song so it comes alive. The concept of the man with the guitar is not new but Nicu has something bronze bittersweet in his voice which adds to the music. Often accompanied with the cream of the crop from the local music scene. And half the time he doesn't even writes the lyrics to the song but uses poetry from welknown poets. It gives it a Romanian - Greek - Rembetiko progrock vibe that is something new in the crowded market of old men with guitars. După melci is an absolute classic of you're into proggy folk rock. . .Go to artist page


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