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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Gabi Lunca

By Michael Stone
Published October 28, 2008

Sounds From A Bygone Age: Vol. 5
Asphalt Tango

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.