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Romanian rock: Wikis

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Romanian rock is a genre of popular music in Romania. It was influenced by changes in Romanian politics to such an extreme, that both the themes and styles of musicians, and the tastes and interests of listeners, changed dramatically with every major event in Romania's internal politics[citation needed].

As a result, the rock music that is currently performed in Romania features a politically-influenced profile that equipoised censorship policies in communist Romania (before 1990) and reacted promptly to social issues that followed during the economic transition.

However, the strict government regulations practised in Romania during the Ceauşescu administration determined a very specific sound in popular music, partly favourable for its originality. Music and new technologies from abroad reached Romanian listeners and artists with difficulty – this was a moderate handicap to music production and sometimes produced slightly unfashionable records (when compared to Western interests). These conditions continued to have a strong influence even on music produced for many years afterward.

Contents

History

Rock music, which rapidly gained momentum during the 1960s in communist Romania, was a rather controversial topic, mainly because of the regime's propaganda against Western culture. In 1971, this fear culminated with the famous July Theses. Thanks to its growing popularity, rock music was regulated, but allowed to flourish in Romania, often triggering a generation gap not dissimilar to that of the West or other Eastern European countries.

“Electric guitar bands”

Rock and roll didn't really gain solid ground in Romania until the early 1960s. During the fifties, all art forms were highly influenced with proletkult. The fifties' vogue in music was latin jazz and tango. The music could hardly accommodate lyrics about workers on gantries or farms; the mixture was sometimes thought of as inventive, but it mostly resembled Kitsch.

Little is known about the beginning of rock music in Romania; however, some of the earliest artists were: Uranus (founded in 1961, in Timişoara),[1] Cometele (en. "the comets", 1962, Bucharest),[2], Sfinţii (en. "the saints", 1962, Timişoara),[2] Entuziaştii (en. "the enthusiasts", 1963, Bucharest).[3] Such early bands survived for only a couple of years (Except for Sfinţii, who later became Transsylvania Phoenix and is still active), but the musicians carried on playing in other bands, soon to become famous. The rock trend started in Romania with The Young Ones (1961), a feature film starring singer Cliff Richard.

Rock music was actually seldom called by its name in Romania (and in other East European countries); however, the term beat was sometimes used instead (this was also the name of an EPs series, released in the late sixties). However, rock bands were much more often referred to as "electric guitars' bands" (ro. formaţii de chitare electrice). The use of alternative names in the sixties does not indicate the term "rock" being banned or avoided, but a different perspective on the whole phenomenon.

Aftermath of the July Theses

All through the sixties, Romanian rock bands were permitted to sing in English or other foreign languages; moreover, covers of Western music were requested by Electrecord itself (the state recording label), in order to increase disc sales.

In 1971, President Nicolae Ceauşescu delivered the July Theses, some of whose objectives demanded reorientation of all cultural interests towards national values and treasures. In fact, the July Theses inaugurated a "mini cultural revolution"; the Romanian rock scene was suddenly confronted with many nascent issues that they had not faced before. Singing in foreign languages was restricted to other Romance languages such as French and Italian or fellow Bloc languages.

Post-communist era

With disappearance of state censorship after the 1989 revolution, the Romanian rock scene saw a period of diversification and liberalization. Themes previously considered inappropriate could now be explored, and numerous new bands and artists came to prominence. Music festivals such as Stufstock further helped with the popularization of Romanian rock, including with neighboring countries such as Bulgaria.

Notable bands

Bibliography

  • Caraman Fotea, Daniela and Nicolau, Cristian (1999). Rock, Pop, Folk Dictionary, Humanitas Publishing House, Bucharest. ISBN 973-28-0910-8
  • Ionescu, Doru (2005). Time of Electric Guitars. A Journey Log through the Romanian Television's Archives, volume 1, Humanitas Educational, Bucharest. ISBN 973-689-064-3

References

  1. ^ Caraman Fotea, p. 527
  2. ^ a b Ionescu, p. 77
  3. ^ An interview with Dimitrie Cădere, former guitarist with the band Entuziaştii, published on muzicisifaze.com

External links

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