Monday, February 3, 2014

Variations on a Romanian Folk Tune: Hora Lautareasca

Today's theme is several variations on tunes with the name Hora Lautareasca.   Lautareasca is an adjective which describes folk music from Romania played by groups of Roma (Gypsy) musicians, called "lautari." It comes from lăută, the Romanian word for lute. As you will see (and hear) in the following videos, lautareasca music includes a wide variety of instruments, including brass and woodwinds.

First, let's have a look at the first Hora Lautareasca, performed by the Dunav dancers of Jerusalem in Israel. This was the only version I could find on YouTube with a dance attached to it.

Version two is performed by a brass ensemble very popular in Romania, Fanfare Ciocarlia. My Friday night group does a dance named Coconeasa to this tune; they have it on their master list as a Vlach dance from Bulgaria. The country of origin doesn't matter; music and dance in the Balkans have this thing for crossing borders.  I like it very much, and so do the commenters on YouTube.  One mentioned that this was so beautiful she would like it played at her funeral. Another described this piece as "music for weddings and funerals."

Here's another brass rendition of Hora Lautareasca. performed by the group Fanfare Transilvania.  Transylvania is the region of Romania best known for the infamous vampire, Dracula. He was an actual person (his real name was Vlad Tepes), and had a reputation for impaling his enemies on stakes. Dracula, the vampire, was based on Balkan vampire legends, and was a fictional creation of the Irish author Bram Stoker.

 I guess the term "lautari" can also include brass bands as well as traditional instruments. Traditional instruments in Romanian bands include violins, panpipes, cimbalom, and accordion. Some are more traditional than others.

Version four is the one my group dances to on Sunday nights. This one has a number of folk instruments: if you listen carefully, there's a trombone, violin, accordion, and cimbalom. The full name of this piece is Hora Lautareasca Din Dolj. Dolj is a region in southern Romania.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a video of the dance; the music will have to do.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Romanian Hora

The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba

A Romani Potpourri (a variety of Romani tunes)

More Folklore and Pop Culture (how Count Dracula became a pop culture icon)

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