Music from the Romanian Heaven

Gheorghe Zamfir
Image via Wikipedia

Gheorghe Zamfir, the king of the pan flute, what an absolutely outstanding artist!

He has modified this instrument and enlarged just to be able to render as many sounds as possible, and became worldwide famous for his music, which was new to the European ears. The pan flute is a traditional instrument in Romania.

Gheorghe Zamfir’s music is appreciated at a global scale, and he has performed on some of the greatest stages of the world!

He has been awarded the Vatican Medal by Pope John Paul the II, The Gold Medal of the Arts Academy of France, he has been made Knight of Honour in France, and he has received many other awards and distinctions all over the world.

He received 4 Platinum Discs in New Zeeland, Gold Discs in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Finland and Netherlands.
He has sold over 700 million copies in the whole world.

His music is part of the soundtracks for Karate Kid, Once Upon a Time in America and Kill Bill.

If you haven’t listened to his music before, do so, it’s not too late to teach your ears true music.


Romanian on Top of the Game

At some point this year I was looking to take up training for the European job competition, and I stumbled across Carmen Peter’s website

She is so good! And I’m so proud of her! She originates from Turda, a small Transylvanian town, but look where she is now, training people all over the world, working for so many biiig companies, and even training the big guys in the European Commission and Parliament!

Whoever says Romania hasn’t got brains?

Don’t Try to Steal Eliade!

I was reading the biography of Mircea Eliade on just to find out that this website claims that Eliade is American!

Indeed he lived for a long time in the USA and taught at the University of Chicago, and got the American citizenship at the age of 59, but that does not make him American! Don’t try to steal Eliade from us!!!

He also lived and studied in India and still nobody claims that he is Indian.

This really annoys me, cause I see so many countries having a bad opinion about Romania but when it comes to people like Eliade, they are trying to make them theirs. Why is it so hard for you to admit that Romania has got many great people, with great minds?

Romanians at Hollywood

Whether you like Hollywood or not, you’ve got to admit that it’s a big thing, and it’s quite hard to get there. Yes, most of the films they make are toxic for the brain or just useless. But let’s not forget that some of them are true masterpieces. But anyway this is completely irrelevant to what this article is about. How many of you know that there are quite a few Romanian actors who played their part on the Hollywood scene, and they did it pretty well.

I’m not a movie person, but I will probably try to watch some of these films just to see how my compatriots did. 🙂

To make it easier to follow I’ll try to write it as a list:

Marcel Iures
Marcel Iures

Marcel Iures

In terview with a Vampire (1994)

Mission Impossible (1996)

The Peacekeeper (1997)


Harts War (2002)

Youth Without Youth

Maia Morgenstern
Maia Morgenstern

Maia Morgenstern

Passion of the Christ





Ion Caramitru
Ion Caramitru

Ion Caramitru


Citizen X

Mission Impossible


Sebastian Stan
Sebastian Stan

Sebastian Stan

Law and Order

Red Doors

The Architect

The Covenant

Rachel Getting Married


Gossip Girl


Oana Pellea
Oana Pellea

Oana Pellea

Children of Men

I Really Hate My Job


Monica Barladeanu
Monica Barladeanu

Monica Barladeanu



Fall Down Dead


Maria Alexandra Lara
Maria Alexandra Lara

Maria Alexandra Lara

Der Untergang

I Really Hate My Job


Youth Without Youth




Bela Lugosi
Bela Lugosi

Bela Lugosi

Tod Browning’s Dracula

This is debatable as he was born in Lugoj, now a Romanian town that used to be part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire…




Johhny Weissmuller
Johhny Weissmuller

Johnny Weissmuller


The same thing applies to him..He was born in the Romanian city of Timisoara which at the time he was born, was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire..

A few words on Dracula and Vlad

Vlad the Impaler
Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes)

Dracula, the most famous symbol of Romania in the Western conscience, is not Romanian. May I say that some people will only now find out that Transylvania is a part of Romania, and not a mythical place or a country of its own. And why am I saying that Dracula is not Romanian? Easy answer. Because it came to life in the mind of an Irish writer called Bram Stoker, after reading quite a lot on  European folklore and stories of vampires.

It is known that the character of Dracula was to a certain extent based on the Wallachian ruler Vlad III, also known as the Impaler. But what intrigues me the most are the incosistencies that exist in the story, the differences between what is real and what is fiction, as these have created a big mess in the mind of the Westerners.

First of all, Vlad the Impaler was not known to drink people’s blood. He became infamous for his cruel methods of punishment, of which his favorite one was impaling the enemies of the country. Wallachia was being persistently attacked by the Ottomans (Turks), and Vlad made his best to defend his country, which gained him a high place in the Romanian history, and in European history as well, because if it hadn’t been for his efforts, the Turkish would have occupied a large part of Europe, and its culture and layout nowadays would probably  be different.

Secondly, Bran castle, which everybody calls Dracula’s castle, is not in fact Dracula’s castle. It is not even Vlad’s castle. The first documented mentioning of Bran Castle is the act issued by Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Braşov) the privilege to build the stone citadel on their own expense and labor force. It is not even likely for Vlad to have used the castle as a residence since it belonged to a different country, Transylvania, which was under the control of Hungary. The only connection between Bran and Vlad was the fact that he used the  Bran Pass for his incursions in Transylvania, as it was relatively easy to cross the mountains through this point. Also, he was held captive in the castle for a couple of months when the Hungarian king thought Vlad had betrayed him.

Bran Castle
Bran Castle

What’s more, the castle is not even mentioned in Stoker’s book, so there is no reason to relate Bran castle to the character of Dracula.

Whereas Bran castle is situated on the border between Transylvania and Valachia, the castle that Stoker envisioned in his book was situated on the border between Transylvania and Moldova, in Tihuta Pass, near Bistrita. There is no castle there nowadays, but the legend is based on some mysterious ruins that still can be seen on the Rachitaua Peak.

There is a local legend that is passed from generation to generation, which says that Vlad Draculea saw the ruins during his travels and tried to uncover the treasure that was said to lay underneath. But the place was cursed, and Draculea made a pact with the Devil in order to finf the treasure. The Devil betrayed him and took all his powers away with the help of a beautiful maiden, so Draculea had to write with his own blood that he will give up on the treasure if he wants his powers back. He cursed the place, and ever since all kinds of strange things happen there to people who are looking for the treasure.

Vlad’s residence, that could be called Dracula’s castle by people who identify the two characters, is Cetatea Poienari, in Arges County. Unfortunately, not many people know about it, this being the reason why tourists are drawn towards other places such as Bran and Tihuta Pass.

These are only a couple of the false ideas that revolve around the myth of Dracula, but if you want to find out more, read Stoker’s novel and then read the history of Romania.

You will be amazed how much you don’t know about this amazing country! Google „Pasul Tihuta” to see images of the area that inspired Bram Stoker when he chose the location of Dracula’s castle. Also click here to access the official website of the Bran Castle.

For a guide to Sighisoara, the place where Vlad was born, click here.

A murit Adrian Paunescu


Adrian Paunescu
Poetul Adrian Paunescu

A murit poetul nostru.. o mare pierdere pentru Romania, mai trista si mai dureroasa decat criza financiara, decat rusinoasa batalie dintre orbii astia ce ne conduc tara, si probabil la fel de trista ca si prostia si ignoranta in care traiesc mutli din romanii nostri, ec isi blestema tara in fiecare zi, si uita ca ei sunt parte din ea, si uita ca si ei ar putea face ca ea sa fie mai buna.

Si sper ca memoria lui, mereu vie, sa nu fie patata de sporovaieli mediatice. Si sper ca poezia lui, daca nu suficient de apreciata pana azi, sa fie citita cu luare aminte de acum, si inteleasa, si cei ce o citesc sa se simta umiliti si rusinati, in fata unei tari pe care acest om a iubit-o atat de mult, si de care cu totii ne batem joc.

Purtaţi-vă de grijă, fraţii mei,
Păziţi-vă şi inima, şi gândul,
De nu doriţi să vină anii grei,
Spitalul de urgenţă implorându-l.

Vă văd pe toţi mai buni şi mai umani,
Eu însumi sunt mai omenos în toate,
Dă-mi, Doamne, viaţă, încă nişte ani
Şi ţării mele minima dreptate.

Adrian Păunescu, 31 octombrie 2010, Bucureşti, Spitalul de Urgenţă

Dumnezeu sa-l odihneasca in pace!

Romanian Brains

Bill Gates is investing 27 million dollars in Romanian public libraries.  This initiative is going to provide 235 libraries with computers with free access to the internet and Microsoft applications.  Librarians will benefit from free training in matters of computer use and they will advocate for the importance of free access to information for the development of the community.

Why am I using the word invest instead of donate? Because there are over 300 Romanians who work for Microsoft in various positions from programmers to group program manager, and Bill Gates probably felt the need to give something back to a community that gave him so much. And also, he’s investing in the potential of this community to give him valuable human assets in the future.

I’m not denying the greater good behind his investment. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does a great deal of philantropic work all over the world, which is to be admired and respected.

I wonder how many of these Romanians who work in the USA for one of the best employers are ashamed to say they are Romanians..