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Gabi Lunca
Sounds From A Bygone Age: Vol. 5
Asphalt Tango

By Michael Stone

Published October 28, 2008

The sustenance of gypsy music as folk music was one beneficial consequence of Eastern Europe’s Cold War isolation, as documented by Asphalt Tango’s Sounds From A Bygone Age series. The fifth volume is dedicated to Romanian singer Gabi Lunca (born in 1938), who launched her recording and performing career by winning a local folksong contest, followed by radio appearances and a move to Bucharest. Together with the man who became her husband, gypsy accordionist Ion Onoriu (heard here, along with trumpeter Costel Vasilescu and tsimbal player Toni Iordache), Lunca forged a career combining bars, cafe, party, and wedding performances with regular radio, TV, and festival appearances. If today's prevalent Euro- and gypsy pop influences reflect the homogenizing dictates of international youth culture, these Lunca classics, resurrected from the vaults of the state-owned Electrecord label, presents sounds from an era when national tastes were as vibrant and distinctive as they were elusive of the Party's cultural oversight.

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