Real roots music: violinist Alexander Balanescu has just met a girl named Maria
"When Romanian singer Maria Tanase died in 1963, almost a million people flooded onto the streets of Bucharest for her funeral. A brief archival snippet on the internet reveals a sea of mourners parting around Tanase's open casket.
''Maria Tanase was greatly loved and greatly respected in Romania,'' violinist Alexander Balanescu says. ''And her funeral was like a state funeral. People from that generation who were there … still remember that day."
Balanescu himself was nine at the time, and left Romania permanently a few years later. But he remembers hearing Tanase's music at home as a child, and listening to his parents' rapturous accounts of her live performances.
It took many decades, though, for those memories to resurface as the inspiration for one of Balanescu's most personal projects." Click here to read the full feature on The Sydney Morning Herald website.
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