Smooth songs about love and loneliness

Sibiu reedited (74 of 261)It’s Saturday, it’s raining outside, as it has been for much of March in Sydney, and the coffee is steaming beside me on the desk. I am editing photos of Eastern Europe for my travel website Time to Wander, but mentally I am back in Romania and would much rather be having coffee on this cute shady terrace in Sibiu (right).

Another language course there this northern summer, maybe? Travel fantasies are getting stronger.

To enhance the mood, to refresh my very rusty Romanian language skills, I have been listening to songs in the Romanian charts from the likes of Kiss FM top 100 and a blog on Romanian charts that I love trawling through. Both feature a mix of local and international artists, in other words a mix of songs in Romanian and English, although occasionally Spanish and French features too.

Here, in no particular order (although number four is my favourite song of the moment in any language), are some songs that I have found appealing. I hope you do too. If you are interested in the lyrics you will usually find them on the Versuri website. and translations (into various languages) on the Lyrics Translate website.

1) DEEPCENTRAL – Dependent

Tick tock goes the clock when you wake up alone and want company.

2) VUNK- Hai, mersi

She’s gone, he misses her night and day, but could there be a happy ending?

 3) 3 SUD EST – Cine esti?

Three men who can sing superbly together are haunted by a mysterious woman.

4) BIANCA & DOMG – Te vreau, dar nu te vreau

A sweet lament on fickle lovers who want but don’t want.

5) ANDI – Luni

Every day feels like a Monday since you left. But the accordion is jaunty!

Tic-tac, here comes the year of the Rooster

roosterJanuary 2017 has almost gone. The Chinese new year is about to dawn on us. How time flies! What do you plan to achieve in 2017 or in the Year of the Rooster? You’d better hurry, because the clocks are ticking. According to reputable dictionaries (that is, the ones I probably paid way too much money for), in French and Romanian they go tic-tac; in Italian it’s tic tac without a hyphen; in Portuguese tique-taque; in Spanish tictac.

What we need now is a tic-tac song to gee us up. Oh look, here’s one! Even better, the video features waves gently lapping the shore – a symbol of constant, regular motion – and there are nice melodies floating around in it. It’s by Vescan and Mahia Beldo (although only the former appears in the video) and the song has made the Romanian top 10.

What’s it all about? Basically, he is missing the passing of dulce copilărie, or sweet childhood. You can find a rather awkward translation of the lyrics into English here (plus translations into German, Russian and Spanish).

HOW TO SAY ‘TIME FLIES’ IN THE FIVE ROMANCE LANGUAGES

  • French: le temps passe vite
  • Italian: il tempo vola
  • Portuguese: o tempo voa
  • Romanian: timpul zboara
  • Spanish: el tiempo vuela or el tiempo corre (runs)

Although I am not fond of rapping, I do like a lot of the music that Vescan has been involved in – he usually teams up with good singers (an example is Poza de album with Mellina, featured on this post here). In Tic-tac I am impressed with Mahia’s vocals. Here the two perform together live on radio.

How would you like to have Vescan as your language teacher? I think he would be entertaining. No chance of falling asleep in one of his classes!

roosterA happy Year of the Rooster to you

For some amusement, if these things appeals to you, you can find your Chinese new year horoscopes here, but you have to know what animal you are. Find out here.

I’m a rat!

 

 

Do you wish you could turn back timpul?

time-clocks

Image from Pixabay.

How is time treating you? How are your relationships faring five, 10, 15 years down the track? Here’s a song about exactly that, entitled Timpul (time) by Romanian singer Feli, whose full name is Felicia Donose.

Feli was a semifinalist in The Voice Romania contest in 2012 and since then she has released a number of singles either as a solo artist or in collaboration with top Romanian singers. But this one is her best yet and has broken into the Romanian Top 20.

So, what it’s all about? It is too difficult and time-consuming to place the Romanian lyrics and the English ones side by side in this space, but luckily the Lyric Translate website specialises in that sort of thing. Click here for the English translation (there are also Russian and Spanish ones).

Below are the first verse, chorus, and second verse, and finally a live clip of the song.

Versuri:
Îmi spuneai că se poate,
Că pot să scap de trecut,
Doar să-mi dau voie
Să iubesc, să iubesc, dar eu nu am vrut.
Plin de iubire şi răbdare,
Eu te vedeam un prefăcut,
Mă luai în braţe şi-mi spuneai cum nu spuneai oricui
„Lasă iubirea să te-mbrace, dă-i timp timpului”

Refren:
Spune-mi, spune-mi ce e de făcut,
Că vreau să fie ca la început,
Dar tu nu mai vrei, tu nu mai,
M-ai uitat, deşi n-ai vrut
Spune-mi, spune-mi ce e de făcut,
Că vreau să fie ca la început,
Dar tu nu mai vrei, tu nu mai,
Tu nu mai vrei tot ce am avut

Versuri:
Câte îmi arată viaţa,
Câte semne să mă prind,
Cum înclină balanţa
Spre instinct, să-l ascult şi să nu mă mint.
Câte amintiri frumoase,
Ce din când în când m-ating,
Tu mi-ai transformat în vară ficare anotimp…

Frenchmania – A French night in Bucharest

If you have ever wondered how French sounds when spoken or sung by a Romanian (yes, you have thought about this a lot, haven’t you) well here is your chance to find out.

The Institut Française Roumanie in Bucharest recently held a musical gala to promote the French language, and les meilleurs artistes roumains sont venus chanter (top Romanian artists came along to sing). For some, it was quite a challenge, as Dorian Popa explains in a mix of French and Romanian before doing a cover of Maître Gims’ Bella.

If you are not familiar with Maître Gims, you should be! Read about him on my post Sounds of France via Africa. Here is the original version of Bella.

Dorian Popa is a popular pop-rap singer in Romania  who is also well known for his rippling muscles, bulging pecs and formidable six-pack. I’ve selected this clip of this duet with Ruby because it has a lot of footage in Paris and I prefer it to his solo efforts.

So, who else took part in the French soirée? One singer I really like, Keo (I will do a post  on him shortly) does a great cover of Le Vent Nous Portera (The wind will take/carry us), which was a big hit in Europe for the group Noir Désir in 2001.

Adrian (Adi) Despot, who is a member of the band Vița de Vi, did a cover of one of my favourite songs by the band Indochine, Tes Yeux Noirs (Your black eyes).

Here’s Indochine doing the much loved song at one of their tremendous gigs.

I also really like this version, recorded with an orchestra in Hanoi.

A French concert wouldn’t be a French concert without a really romantic ballad. Cornel Ilie, the lead singer of Vunk, steps up for a rendition of Je Te Le Dis Quand Même (I’ll tell you anyway).

Here is the version released in by Patrick Bruel, a prolific French actor and singer.

This upbeat live version shows how well the song has stood the test of time.

Alexandra Ungureanu came on stage to do I Need You More which has verses in French.

Here is the single version that she did with Crush and Leslie. It’s chirpy!

To finish, here’s Keo again, to say he loved you, he loves you and will love you.

That song was originally a single released in 1994 by Francis Cabral. Here is a clip from YouTube which has Romanian subtitles.

 

C’est fini, bonne nuit!

Nicoleta Nuca, INNA and Antonia – what a combination!

Hello, I just made an exciting discovery, a very different yet surprisingly lovely version of a Romanian/Moldovan pop song I really liked last year, Nu Sunt, by Nicoleta Nuca (it was first mentioned on this post). This one, though, features not only Nicoleta but two other superb contemporary Romanian singers, INNA and Antonia. INNA’s the one on the left, Nicoleta is in the middle and Antonia is on the right. Three beautiful women singing a beautiful song in a beautiful language. Check it out

Just as interesting is this version, recorded by Nicoleta – who hails from Moldova – with the Chisinau Youth Orchestra.

To give you some idea of what the song is about here is a snippet of the lyrics taken from the Versuri.Ro website:

Ultimul moment, ultimul regret / Mi-a ajuns! / Tot ce am avut, oricum s-a pierdut/ 
Tu nu vezi? / Nu sunt doar un trofeu pe patul tău

This is the last time, the last regret. / I’ve had enough! / All I had has been lost anyway / Don’t you see? / I’m not just a trophy on your bed.

For the record, here is the original version of the song.


Nicoleta, who was a contestant on the Romanian X Factor talent show, followed that up with another catchy hit, Linistea, which means “peace” or “silence”.

Her latest is Inima Mea (My Heart).

So, what of the other singers, INNA and Antonia? I’ve featured both on this blog before. INNA is probably Romania’s best known contemporary singer and has managed to conquer the English language market (and she sometimes dabbles in other Romance languages). Here is a recent international hit.

Antonia (her full name is Antonia Clara Iobescu) was born in Bucharest but her family moved to the United States when she was five, and she has had a very successful career as a model as well as a singer. Most of her output has been in English but she has linked up with a number of Romanian singers in the past few years, including veteran Romanian groups Holograf and Vunk. Here is a sample of her work.

 

I hope you enjoyed this peek into the music of Eastern European Romance language countries.

Cheers

Catching up with Carla’s Dreams

Carla’s Dreams are a group from Chisinau in Moldova who make some really interesting music (singing in both Romanian and Russian and occasionally English).

I really like their latest single, Te Rog (which is a familiar form of saying “please”; vă rog is the formal form). I like the handclapping and eastern influences (I feel I could do a kind of flamenco belly dance to this).

If you want to sing along, here is a clip with versuri (the lyrics) and you can find translations of all the songs mentioned in this post on this Lyrics Translate web page.

Carla’s Dreams first came to my attention when their duet with Inna (probably Romania’s best known singer) P. O.H.U.I. was a huge hit a couple of years ago. (It’s on my post Join the Inna circle). Rather than replay it, I’ve chosen this clip without Inna, and with the words on show.

Carla’s Dreams have notched up a notable achievement recently. Cum Du Noi (which translates as what/how we feel for each other), their duet with the popular Delia (Delia Matache –  I have written about her often before, just type ‘Delia’ in the search field), was the first song in the Romanian language to get more than 10 million views on YouTube within a month of its release (it’s up to more than 30 million now). It’s a song which annoys me and seduces me at the same time!

 

I’ve made some other exciting musical discoveries recently – stay tuned! Cheers

Songs that drive me nebun*

Greetings! Some fairly decent songs have been appearing from CAT Music in Romania on my Facebook feed, so I thought I’d collate them here quickly before I forget them and they disappear down the Facebook Scroll Black Hole (ever tried trying to look up what was that nice song by somebody that you shared on Facebook three years ago? Good luck with that mission). You’ll find a nice mix of upbeat songs, sad songs and smooth sounds here.

1. Alina Eremia – A fost o nebunie (It was madness)

* Related vocabulary

  • nebun, nebună adj foolish, silly, mad, crazy, insane, frantic
  • nebun  madman, fool, nutcase, loony
  • nebunesc, nebunească adj foolish, silly, wanton
  • nebuneşte adv crazily
  • nebunie f insanity, madness
  • a face pe nebunul to be (going) crazy

2. Andra (feat. Cabron) – Niciodată Să Nu Spui Niciodată (Never say never)

3. Sophia – Ziduri (Walls)

4. Betty Blue – Acolo sus (Up there)

The next two are not from CAT Music but I found them on the current music charts. I can’t unlink them so that they’ll appear here, you’ll have to follow the link.

5. Maxim – Noapte fără tine (Night without you)

6. Soundland feat. Alexandra Ungureanu – Atât de uşor (So easy)

Balkan Club meets Brazil as Romanian pop stars Andra and Naguale go to Rio de Janeiro

The Lisbon-Bucharest divide

The Lisbon-Bucharest divide

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is not much connection between the Romanian and Portuguese languages. For one thing, Bucharest and Lisbon are more than 3800 kilometres apart, and if you were to make that road journey (pictured), you would hear many different languages along the route. I have been fortunate enough to have done summer language courses in both countries – in Portugal in 2011 and Romania in 2013. Of the two, the latter language was definitely new to me, so I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Whenever I was asked a question by my Romanian teacher, if I couldn’t say a word in Romanian, I would say it in Portuguese (in my peculiar gringo Porto-Romanian accent), and often the answer would prove to be spot on. So if you are reasonably fluent in one of those languages, you should be comfortable holidaying in places where the other is spoken.

Even so, I was surprised to find that doing very well on the Romanian music charts at the moment is Falava, a song in Portuguese and English by Romanian singer Andra and a band by the name of Naguale. It’s catchy and has got a sort of Turkish/Arabic/Ottoman snake charmer cum bellydance-type feel to it (my belly gyrated while playing it). As a bonus, the video features colourful exotic scenes from Rio de Janeiro, including street life, mouth-watering tropical fruits and the obligatory long-legged beauties in skimpy costumes wiggling their bits (it’s a bit in your face at times).

Andra certainly sounds comfortable in the Portuguese language, and the radio studio version below shows this is so with live performances too.

The lyrics to the song can be found here.

Andra is very popular in Romania. Here’s her big summer hit from 2013, Inevitabil va fi bine (Inevitably everything will be fine) … happy memories for me!

BUFFED BODY ALERT!

I don’t know much about Naguale, but according to the band/musician’s Facebook page it’s a (one-man?) band led by Bucharest-based Ovidiu Baciu and the music genre is “Balkan Club”. Here he teams up with a couple of other heavy-hitters on the Romanian music scene, Glance and Elena Gheorghe. In this video, the naked flesh on display is of the big and buffed blokey type. There are subtitles in English.

Trying to get back into the groove

Hi, apologies for not having posted much recently. Work has kept me incredibly busy since January (extra projects on top of my normal job and another deadline is looming). I have hardly had time to think about Romance languages, and am really missing them. In the past couple of days I have been having cravings to listen to the music of Delia and her ilk again. The Romanian top 100 airplay chart website that I relied on for much of the past couple of years has gone offline, so instead I am using this blog site as a reference, but it has only the top 40 (often the songs that don’t make the top 40 are more interesting than those that do). The site also has a lot more English tracks on it, but never mind.

So here’s what quickly caught my ear…

This is not Delia, but it could easily be… It’s a Moldovan singer, Nicoleta Nuca. She’s at No.16.

I also like this by Dan Bittman, the lead singer of Holograf (and before that IRIS), who is wrestling with angels and demons. He’s at No.6 but I think was at No.1 not so long ago. I particularly like the guitar licks around the 2.50 minute mark.

And now for Delia, at No.14 with this…

Now here are some live performances of the above…

I hope to catch up with some French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish music soon. To all the people whose blogs I follow, I hope you are well 🙂

 

German subtitles on Romanian Eurovision song and life in Germanic-Romanian ghost towns. What more could you want!

Hello. It’s been more than three weeks since I posted anything. Been a very busy boy. I’ll boast about that more during the week. To get back into the swing, I’m going to dabble a bit in German, a language that should get some attention next month when Vienna hosts this year’s Eurovision song contest (May 19-23)

Romanian band Voltaj have released a YouTube version with German subtitles of their Eurovision 2015 entry, De la Capăt, which is a good excuse for me to play one of my favourite songs of the moment. Here it is, German speakers sing along now:

German and Romanian are, of course, quite different, but German is a language you will hear in Romania quite often, particularly during the summer holidays in Transylvania, which was once part of the Habsburg empire. According to Wikipedia’s list of ethic minorities in Romania, though, Germans now make up only 0.2 per cent of the total population. The number was originally much higher, but due to various political circumstances since the second world war, none of them pleasant, it has fallen considerably. You can read about the overall German population here, and about the largest group, the Transylvanian Saxons, here. When I did my language course in Sibiu in 2013, I visited some of the Saxon villages not far from the city, such as Cașolț and Roșia. As you will see from my picture gallery, these villages are quaint but have a forlorn air of decay, like sad little ghost towns. Many people have left these villages to seek fortunes elsewhere, their houses stand empty; some have been taken over by gypsies or vagabonds. Yet there is still a certain beauty and serenity to the place, and the people who remain are very hospitable.

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One prominent German-Romanian is the country’s recently elected president, Klaus Iohannis. Another is the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Hertha Müller, who left Romania in 1987 after being hounded by the Communist regime’s secret police. One of her most recent books is The Hunger Angel, which graces my bookshelves, but let me tell you it is a harrowing read.

The Hunger Angel cover, Portobello Books, 2012. Shot by Bernardo on his iPhone using the Snapseed app.

The Hunger Angel, Portobello Books, 2012. Shot by Bernardo on his iPhone using the Snapseed app.

It tells the story of how Leo, a young lad from Sibiu, was sent into a Soviet forced labour camp for five years from 1944. In that year the Red Army occupied Romania and Stalin demanded that all German Romanians aged 17-45 be sent into labour camps to “rebuild” the Soviet Union. Many never came back. The war might have ended in 1945, but the atrocities continued long after that. When Leo returns home in 1949 he is still only 22 but in spirit he is a broken old man.

Later Ceausescu’s communist regime really made life hard for the ethnic minorities as policies were introduced to, let’s say, stamp out the Hungarian and German cultural identities, including clamping down on language (this is why some towns in Romania have a Romanian name, a Hungarian name and a German name). Some of the German-Romanians people I spoke to in Cașolț told me of the grievances that they or their parents had to put up with. And that, sadly, is mostly what human history is all about, really. One tribe or grouping taking advantage of, bullying, coercing or persecuting another. On that fun note, good night!