Litera F

2.      The middle stage, which invented the ensembles of peasant-artists, well instructed in order to perform up to the exigencies of an ?artistic formation?. This is the time when extreme hatred of the elites, be they the ephemeral sort produced by the ?Celebration of Romania? Festival, caused an adamant rejection of stardom.

The favorites of the public will from now on only be able to appear on stage or in TV programs in groups of 3 or 4, and sing together, which will make necessary the invention of a new type of folklore (text and music) and will thus lead to the birth of the last generation of stage folklore;

3.      The songs and dances created by the formation instructors and cultural activists introduced the mammoth music and dance formations, performing songs with very short stanzas and frequent refrains, and with texts glorifying the golden age and its accomplishments. (125)

January 1989. I am in Tirgu Jiu. Outside snow rises to hip level and the cold pierces the heart. You have it all inside, too, except the snow. I was forced to participate in the symposion by comrade Gheorghe, director in the Ministry of Socialist Culture and Education, who bears a grudge against me. A local boss, who will live to regret it, sits me right at the presiding desk, three seats away from the vice-minister of culture, comrade Ionita or Ionascu or something ? the only precise thing I can remember about him was that he bore a historical name, that he had distinguished himself in the historical process of collectivization, and that shortly after 1989 he was appointed ambassador in a country with a great historical past.

At some point His Excellency comes to talk about the ?great rhapsodist? of folk song, Maria Tanase, who ?took the authentic Romanian song to all corners of the world? and also worked a series of other miracles. I couldn?t tell how or why it was that I started speaking ? I think I lost it, I usually work myself into a temper very quickly. So I start saying that I don?t get it why they make such a fuss about Maria Tanase in Oltenia, where there is another truly great singer and kobsa player, Maria Lataretu, who sings wonderfully at weddings, together with her band of Gypsies?

Everyone falls dead silent. What?s got into them, I wonder, I guess I said something intolerable again. The vice-minister gets up, with his blood pressure mounting alarmingly, and begins criticizing me the way father used to tell me criticism was done back in the ?50s. The fundamental accusation is that I dared compare Maria Tanase, a ?representative of Romanian song?, with a mere wedding singer (read a damned Gypsy woman).

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