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Taraf de Haïdouks are a troupe of Romanian Romanies musicians, from the town of Clejani, the most prominent such group in Romania in the post-Communist Era.

They are known in Romania as "Taraful Haiducilor". The words "Taraf" and "Haiduc" have Turkish origin, meaning "band, troupe of Romanies fiddlers (lăutari - also from Turkish)" and "outlaw" respectively; in Romanian these words are archaic and have archaic connotation. Most of those who know the band in the Western world know them by way of French-speaking areas, where they are known as "Taraf de Haïdouks".

The group formed in 1989, but actually they were discovered by the ethnomusicologist Speranta Radulescu, who first recorded them in 1983 for the archive of "The Institute for Ethnography and Folklore". The original group encompassed about a dozen musicians; later configurations were to include as many as thirty. Early contacts in the West included Swiss ethnomusicologist Laurent Aubert and Belgian musicians Stéphane Karo and Michel Winter, two fans who were so taken by the band's music that they turned into managers, brought the Taraf de Haïdouks to Western Europe and helped launch their international career.

Ever since the release of their first album back in 1991, Taraf de Haïdouks have been considered as the epitome of Romanies music’s fabulous vitality. They've relentlessly toured all around the globe, have released acclaimed albums and a DVD (see below), and their countless fans include people like the late Yehudi Menuhin, Kronos Quartet (with whom they've recorded and performed), actor Johnny Depp (alongside whom they appeared in the film "The Man Who Cried"), fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto (who invited them to be models-cum-musicians for his Paris and Tokyo shows) and many more. Meanwhile, the band members seem to have been relatively unaffected by all humdrum, they’ve retained their sense of humour, and their way of life (they still reside in their modest village of Clejani, in the Valachian countryside).

The band's latest release is the Maskarada album, in which they re-interpret and "re-gypsyfy" pieces by classical composers from the 20th century (such as Bartok, Khachaturian and others), who had drawn inspiration from national folklore and often borrowed from Roma styles.



Some of the core members of the group:

  • Nicolae Neacşu ("Culai"): violin and vocals; died December 2002
  • Dumitru Baicu ("Cacurică"): cymbalum; died September 2007
  • Ilie Iorga: vocals; actually from Mârşă near Clejani
  • Ion Manole ("Şaică" or "Boşorogu"): violin, vocals
  • Gheorghe Anghel ("Caliu"): violin
  • Gheorghe Fălcaru ("Fluierici"): flute, double bass
  • Ionica Tanase: cymbalum
  • Constantin Sandu ("Dinu"): cymbalum, vocals
  • Florea Pârvan: double bass
  • Marin Sandu ("Ţagoe"): double bass
  • Paul Guiclea ("Pasalan"): voice, violin
  • Marin Manole ("Marius"): accordion
  • Constantin Lautaru ("Costica Boieru"): violin, voice
  • Viorel Vlad: double bass
  • Robert Gheorghe: violin



Commercially released

Non-commercially released

Before the Haïdouks organized themselves as a group, many of them were recorded on an ethnomusicological album:

  • "Musique des Tsiganes de Valachie; les lăutari de Clejani" (1988) [OCORA 3149025011190]

The following albums were produced by Fundaţia Alexandru Tzigara-Samurcas in Bucharest, in association with Euroart, the cultural fund of the Department for European Integration of the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs of Romania.

  • "The End of the Millenium [sic] in the Romanian Village" / "Fin de Millénaire dans le Village Roumain" / "Sfârşit de mileniu în satul Românesc", a collection of recordings 1989-1997, released 2000, liner notes in English, French, and Romanian. Only some of the musicians on these recordings are affiliated with the taraf, but several, even from other villages, have toured with them.
  • "Outlaws of Yore" / "Les 'Haïdouks' d'Autrefois", two volumes (labeled "I" and "II"), recorded at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, March 1991, released 2001, liner notes in English and French.


'Hopa, tropa, Europa' (Hop and trot around Europe) by Speranţa Rădulescu, (Museum of the Romanian Peasant, 1992) describes the group's first European tour.


Two performances of the group were in the 1993 French film "Latcho Drom" by Tony Gatlif. In 2001 the Taraf appeared in Sally Potter's film "The Man Who Cried" alongside friend and fan Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, and John Turturro. They were one of the five Gypsy bands to be featured in the movie "Gypsy Caravan" (2007).


Liner notes of "Outlaws of Yore"

External links


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