Sofia Vicoveanca ‎– Bukovina Songs

Label:
Oriente Musik ‎– RIEN CD 34
Format:
CD, Compilation
Country:
Released:
Genre:
Style:

Credits

Notes

Licensed By Electrecord Romania
Total Playing Time: 62:48
Sofia - the Lady with the headscarf

Sofia has been performing for 42 years. She is known by her stage name Sofia Vicoveanca in her native Romania. The name Vicoveanca contains a clue to both what she sings and the style in which she sings it: Vicov is the birthplace of her mother Veronica Fusa, who taught Sofia many of her songs. Vicov lies in the heart of the Bukovina, and Sofia herself has always lived in Suecava, the largest city in the Rumanian part of Bukovina.
Bukovina is an area in Eastern Europe which during its history belonged to the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, and to Rumania, the Soviet Union and the Ukraine. The word Bukovina means "Land of beech trees" and by association has a music of its own. It stands for a cultural tradition of many centuries that has been influenced by the various occupying powers, and by the Jewish, Austro-German and gypsy minorities. The very different ingredients of the Bukovina folklore merge to create a source of musical wealth unrivalled anywhere in the Balkans: there are the Doinas, or melancholy laments ("Singurica-s, singurea"), along with effervescent dance songs, ("Hai la joc la joc la joc"), tender lullabies ("Cantec de leagan") as well as the irony of satirical texts ("La femei asa el place"). And finally, when Sofia sings the extraordinarily melancholic lyrics of "Supararea, bat-o, Doamne!" over the lively and driving rhythms of a Sirba, this impresses us as a magnificent resolution of apparent contradictions.
Indeed Sofia's special fascination (and her many years of popular success in Romania), may be traced back to a one particular contradiction: The tension between her folksy, earthbound and exclusively Bukovinian repertoire together with her highly sophisticated interpretations which are not confined to simple renditions of rural folk music, but are accessible to far wider audiences owing to their universal artistic appeal. It is therefore hardly surprising that the concert tours given by the "Lady with the headscarf" have taken her as far a field as Japan and the United States.

1. Dancing shoes afire
Hora miscata from Bukovina
A dance song with a satirical text. The hora is a round dance. The dancers hold each other by the hands and keep the circle closed.

2. The lasso dance
Arcan from Bukovina
A dance song told by a young girl whose beloved has been conscripted to the army. The name of this dance "Arcan", comes from the Rumanian word for aiguillette and refers to the strategy adopted by the army to forcibly recruit young men from Sunday village dances.

3. The Trilisesti dancers from Iaslovat
Trilisesti from Radautsi, Bukovina
The Trilisesti is danced by men in a circle. There is no contact between the dancers and the circle remains open. Although this song is usually sung by men, Sofia's deep mellow voice achieves a superb rendering.

4. Who invented the Doina?
Doina from Falticeni in the border area between Bukovina and Moldavia
Trumpet: Alexandru Havriliuc
A song about the creation of the Doina, the Rumanian lament born out of pain and suffering.

5. Oh pain, pain
Hora from Vicov/Bukovina
This Hora is a curse on fate, when one becomes the victim of an abusive person: a women marries, her husband is a drinker and beats her and mistreats her. She cannot (and may not) defend herself or even leave him. All she can do is blame and curse her fate.
Sofia learnt this song from her mother, and it comes from Vicovu de Sus, a small village between the Putna Monastery and Radautsi in the heart of the Bukovina.

6. At night all the world sleeps
Sirba from Bukovina
A young girl is in love and cannot sleep. The whole world around her sleeps. She calls to her loved one and becomes ill because he is not by her side.

7. The musician with the old violin
Hora batrineasca from Fratautii/Bukovina
A song about the violin's encounter with the human voice. A "Hora batrineasca" is a hora with a particularly suitable rhythm for dancing.

8. They took my beloved from me
Arcan from Bukovina
A second song that has compulsory conscription as its theme, like "Jocul arcanului" (track 2). The melody of this song is rich in its variations.

9. Go to sleep
Cradle song from Radautsi/Bukovina

10. Dancing is my life
Hora batuta ("lively hora") from Bukovina
This song is an invitation to dance. The characteristic "Strigaturi" (calls) enhance the gently ironical lyrics: "I would like to stop dancing, but my cursed legs won't obey me!"

11. Cantec de nunta
Wedding song from Bukovina
Also when it comes to wedding songs, Sofia has a preference for satirical texts. The reason for this is surely related to a particular Bukovinean tradition: the mothers-in-law begin a mock quarrel during the ceremony, as a deterrent to future conflicts.

12. Lonely am I, lonely
Doina from Bukovina
A young girl, talking to herself because she cannot find a sweetheart, says she has given up all hope and calls on death to end her misery: No, death replies, I'll fetch you when the time is right. For the moment I have enough to do.

13. That's the way women do it
Satirical song in Geamparale rhythm from Vicov/Bukovina
A woman who knows what to do with a beer when it is put in front of her, has debts at the inn. To prevent her husband from discovering her secret vice, she decides to pay the inn keeper with her worldly possessions. Food, household items and homespun clothe are all given up to pay the debt. In spite of all this she considers herself as the best housewife for miles around.
This song also comes from Sofia's mother's birthplace.

14. Tell me mother, tell me
Doina/hora from Vikov/Bukovina
This song is a dialogue between mother and daughter, the daughter asking questions in the lamenting style of a doina. The mother answers in the gentle rhythm of a hora : "Tell me mother, where does longing lead in the spring?" "Like mankind, and the flowers, it blossoms and then fades. Only the good things of people's lives remain on earth."
This song is also a dialogue between mother and daughter in a deeper sense: "Spune-mi mama" is one of the songs that Sofia learnt from her mother, and one which she clearly took very much to heart.

15. Drive away my sorrows, dear God
Sirba from Bukovina
A greater contrast is hardly imaginable: the relentlessly lively rhythm of a Sirba is combined with an extremely sorrowful text: "Even if I turn my face to the wall when I go to bed, sadness still finds me. I will never find a lover and will wither like a flower without water."

16. Heart full of sorrow and bitterness
Bocet (lament) from Berchisesti/Bukovina
Cobza: Nicolae Paznicutsu
"Even though I am thoroughly unhappy, he whom I love does not see me...."
The Cobza is a lute with a curved neck; it is widespread throughout Rumania with the exception of Transylvania.

17. Let's dance, dance, dance
Fast hora from Bukovina
This song is to gather young men and women for the Sunday dance.

18. Which Cuckoo sung to me?
Slow hora from Bukovina
Caval( flute): Silvestru Lungoci
"This time the call of the cuckoo brought me neither luck nor happiness... The cuckoo's call should bring happiness, but when you hear it and you are sad, you become even sadder."

19. Mama's darling, little angel.
Lullaby from Bukovina
"This child is like no other ... He shall grow tall, blossom like a flower and help us in our old age. He shall fulfill all our hopes and enable our wishes to come true ..."

20. A hazel-bush on a small hill
Hora from Radautsi/Bukovina
A girl is torn between three admirers: a shepherd, a beekeeper and a forester. She finally decides for the beekeeper because he is both tireless and patient, and because his honey gives her the energy to dance.

21. Cradle song
Lullaby from Bukovina
"Everything is asleep ...
The baby is sleeping in the cradle, the cloths in the chest, the plates in the cupboard, the birds in the trees, the fishes in the pond …
Sleep until the sun rises …
Wake up when everything begins to grow because you must become big and strong ..."

Reviews