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!

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Is life good or bad ‘fără tine’? Let these musicians sway you

Fără is an important word in Romanian and I learnt it by trial and error on the first day of my language course in Sibiu in the summer of 2013: outside the classroom was a big coffee machine and the first time I used it I hit the fără zahăr (“without sugar”) button. Yuck! Thereafter it was cu zahăr mereu (with sugar always).

Just as “without you” is fairly common in English song titles, so is fără tine in Romanian music. Usually it is an expression of sadness and doleful longing. Take this example, from highly rated band DJ Project (a couple of musicians/DJs from Timişoara who have used a number of female vocalists over the years): the lyrics include: fără tine nu sunt eu, am stiut asta mereu, nu mai vreau sa plang, dar doare, doare, doarefără tine n-am nimic (without you I am not myself, I knew it all along, I don’t want to cry anymore, but it hurts, without you I have nothing..)

In a similar vein, musically and lyrically, is this effort from Anda Allexa, who says that fără tine her life is drab and colourless, and she has no sun or moon!

Now it’s Dana Nălbaru‘s turn with this gentle ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ type of song, which illustrates the beauty of the Romanian language)…

It’s not only women who get morose with the fără tines. Here’s Voltaj (Romania’s representatives at Eurovision this year) with Mi-e greu fără tine (It’s hard without you).

You’ll also hear the line n-am nimic in this lovely song Alături de îngeri (Near or Among the Angels) by 3 Sud Est, but in this case is is followed by în afară de tine which means “apart from you” or “except for you”. I really like this song.

But it’s not all bad news!

Sometimes breaking up isn’t so hard to do. Here’s a big hit from the summer of 2013. It’s the band Vama (formerly Vama Veche) and the song is Perfect Fără Tine – I don’t particularly like it but found myself humming and singing along to the jaunty chorus whenever I heard it played. And why not? It’s a happy song … perfect fără tine, e mai bine, am timp şi pentru mine … perfect without you, it’s better, I have time for me….

Suffer the children: Voltaj’s anthem for the orphans of the economy

I’ve just had a squizz at the Romanian Airplay Top 100 for songs to add to my playlists, favourites, memory bank, bloodstream, consciousness etc, but the chart is stuck in a post-Christmas slumber! (As I write it’s the top 100 for December 28, but maybe it will have updated by the time you click on the link.) Nevertheless, there is some great new stuff in there – I really do think the Romanian music industry is very on the ball.

Rising quickly up the chart to No. 14 is De La Capăt from Voltaj (Voltage in English), a band I’ve written about a number of times (click on Voltaj in the list of my tags to the right of the post). The song is really beautiful and what’s more it is linked to a good cause – a charitable project the band has set up is to raise awareness of the loneliness and plight of children who have had to stay behind in Romania while their parents seek employment in Western Europe. An English version of the song will be out soon, and I will look at the two versions in more depth when it does. In the meantime, just enjoy the music and the fabulous wintery scenery of the Danube gorges. De la capăt means from the beginning, although the capăt itself means an end or conclusion, but there are lots of expressions involving the word.

One spot behind at No.15 is another great band, 3 Sud Est. Like Voltaj they started out mainly as a dance/disco music act, but have branched out and blossomed with maturity. Here they are singing about freedom and liberty. The verses sound a bit “spaghetti western” to me, but the chorus has really grown on me in the past few weeks.

Now, onto a song which also has a childhood theme and which I find really interesting in parts. Îți Va Fi Dor (You Will Miss It – it’s a song about nostalgia for one’s childhood) has risen rapidly into the top 50 and I’m guessing it will go a lot higher. It’s by Doddy feat Adeline, who has a powerful voice. It reminds me a lot of Mellina and Vescan’s Poza de Album, which did very well last year as is still in the top 40.

Next, here is Dorian’s tribute to the Mare Albastre or Blue Sea. I find this has really intriguing sampling in it (I will explain where it comes from in another post), but much of the rapping part is so-so. The beard and waxed moustache are impressive though!

Finally, I am glad to see that Delia Matache is still hogging the No. 1 spot with Pe Aripi De Vant (Gone With The Wind). Since I have featured the official video and a ‘live in a radio station studio’ video clip on a previous post How good is singing judge Delia? You be the judge, I will go with a live version recorded at a concert in the main square in Sibiu, one of the most festive of Romanian cities. Delia is as theatrical as ever and her vocals are superb, but I wish the guitar riffs had been given more prominence in this mix. This makes me want to revisit Sibiu!