Europalia 2019: Diary Of A Collaboration

Europalia 2019: Diary Of A Collaboration

July 16, 2019

Written by:

Dragoș Rusu

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In the Apuseni Mountains there is a community of women and girls who play the tulnic, a woodwind instrument - similar to the Swiss alphorn - used as a means of communication dating back centuries ago.

Over the past decades, Romania has taken important steps in order to assimilate the tulnic culture as an important traditional element of its own cultural heritage. Unfortunately, there have been few inquiries about the instrument; no music for tulnic has ever been written, and the instrument has been extremely rarely recorded.

Between May 7th and 17th, 2019 The Attic has staged an art residency in the village of Avram Iancu, located at the foothills of the Găina Summit, part of the Apuseni Mountains in the Alba Iulia county in Transylvania.

Commissioned by the Europalia 2019 Festival and in collaboration with of the Romanian Cultural Institute, the project focuses on creating a music ensemble made of tulnicărese (tulnic women players) and Belgian musician and electronic music producer Milan Warmoeskerken. After a series of recordings and days of working together, following this art residency which lasted almost ten days, the ensemble will give several concerts which will be organized in Bruxelles and Leuven: a group of tulnic players from the village of Avram Iancu and Milan W. will be the performers.

Since 1969, Europalia has been organising art biennales around changing host countries. For four months, a multidisciplinary programme presents hundreds of artistic events throughout Belgium and other European countries. Europalia addresses a broad European audience with exhibitions as well as performing arts, music, literature, conferences and cinema. Both renowned artists and up-and-coming talent play an important role. In addition to heritage, the festival also focuses on the contemporary art scene, with particular attention to new creations and exchanges between artists from the host country and Europe.

Milan Warmoeskerken is an Antwerp based electronic music producer, active on the scene for almost a decade. He released several albums since more than four years ago on imprints such as Jj funhouse, BAKK and Ekster. He has been making electronic music ever since he came in contact with it and has studied jazz guitar in his childhood. Besides running his solo project, Milan has been active various bands in Belgium.

This unique project presumes the setting up of an experiment in which the traditional is entwined within the contemporary and new means of artistic creation are invented for this instrument. In the spirit of multiculturalism, the project aims to debunk the myth of the tulnic, deconstructing it in order to bring together two different cultures (the one of the locals from the Apuseni Mountains, called moți and Belgian/Flemish one), in order to break down any stylistic, geographic or cultural borders of any kind. It thus aims to embrace the idea of contemporary experiment.

The project started in the autumn of 2018, when I started looking for pieces of information and contacts about tulnic players from the Apuseni Mountains, who would form the future music ensemble. With the help of a tulnic teacher, Marcel Chirițescu, who is also the director of the Avram Iancu Cultural Center, we were able to set up an ensemble of six female musicians from the area, of ages ranging from 14 up to 82 years old. The aim was precisely to underline the fact that each generation passes on to the following its traditions and playing techniques to use the tulnic, this ancient instrument which goes back to the time of the Dacians.

In the ten days I spent in the village, I was able to capture only a tiny part of what life in the Apuseni Mountains actually means and, in particular, of what the tulnic means in the Apuseni. Nevertheless, I had the joy of interacting with different people, from the tulnic players in the ensemble, to a tulnic builder, as well as several people from the area in one way or another.

In the domestic cultural space of our times, we cannot judge music any longer by standard, classical principles, that cut clearly between music genres, geographical areas of origin, and time periods during which the music in question was written or composed.
The process of decomposing, deconstructing, and debunking the myth of this instrument is a challenge, as well as an adventure, a creative leap into the unknown, into uncertainty.
Inside Maria Coroiu's house
Inside Maria Coroiu's house

Tuesday, May 7th

Field notes: What is the essence of chronology? The chronology of facts changes in time, as things happen in the past according to their importance. So, what is important about emotional chronology? Most probably, nothing.

Hans Falb used to say in a book that it is difficult to start talking about music, when listening to music is much more important. Hans Falb is the organizer of an international festival of improvised music and free jazz (namely Konfrontationen) in a village situated on the border between Austria and Hungary, called Nickelsdorf.

When you start to describe music, to transpose it in words, music accesses the rational, conscious mind, which instantly labels it with prejudices, filters, and templates. In order to really listen to music, one has to keep away, as much as possible, from the templates of the mind, to go beyond the barriers set by time, geography, or any social, cultural, political and religious status. When one listens with the mind, as well as with the heart, music accesses certain levels of the deeper subconscious.

On our way to the village of Avram Iancu, I am with Milan in a big, white, estate Dacia car, chock-full of equipment, amplifiers, bass amplifiers, cables, microphones, more cables, and all kinds of other instruments. We are, as one would say, ready for anything. Give us a generator and we’ll set you up, right here, in the field, with a proper wedding sound system.

We arrive in Avram Iancu and go straight to the Cultural Center. The heating system has broken down. The stage of the cultural center is the place where we will set up our equipment, behind some red curtains, which we keep drawn, in hope we will keep warm from several heaters the locals have borrowed us. The hall is full of chairs, but no one ever comes by, apart from us. Or maybe they do, and we did not see them, as we had the curtains drawn all the time on the stage. But we would have heard them, as the hall acoustics is very good and captures any sound, no matter how discrete. In fact, I have felt this with all the locals with whom we interacted: they are curious to know who we are, but they are not intrusive, they don’t barge into your life. Somehow, they are waiting for you to take the first step.

As we ponder over the days we will spend in this place, we unload and load, then we unload and load again, from the car to the stage, and so on, and so forth. One amplifier has its twitter broken, but, fortunately, we manage to find a solution: the amplifier of the house of culture (they have only one) is as good as the one which is broken.
Photo archive: Tulnic players
Photo archive: Tulnic players

Plum Brandy - Țuică

In the village of Avram Iancu, as everywhere else, at 10 PM there is a complete shutdown in the area. All bars close and you don’t see anyone in the streets anymore. As we have nothing else to do, we go around the village, looking for a bar. We start looking for them one by one, because we remember ever since we came during the winter, in January 2019 – when we made our first work visit in the village – that the last bar, the one up the hill, might be open until later. Every other place is closed. Upon our return, we notice a man, standing on the side of the road, making plum brandy in front of a fire. He has a complex, professional set up. Out of instinct, we stop, in our hope (which we had lost, anyway) that he might know a bar which was still open. Of course, nothing is open, but he serves us with some plum brandy. We clink glasses, as we sit on some wooden logs, the Arieș river flowing musingly to our left. It seems that time has stood still; no one is passing by. Nothing else happens but the river which flows on the right and the plum brandy which drops from the set up down into the keg, on the left.

Țuica has a tradition which is essential in the communities we have encountered in the Apuseni Mountains. This probably happens in some other places as well, but one of the first things most people have asked me, when I met them, was: Do you want some țuică? It is like a peace pipe, it is the riband you must cut, in order to enter someone’s private sphere. It is a sign of friendship, of compassion. There is a tradition upon which many men in the area have relied on even centuries ago, as they made wooden kegs for the production and (later on) for the storage of țuică. As we will notice in an interview with Mrs. Maria - the oldest of the tulnic players in the group (she is 82) - men used to make kegs and go around the country, in order to sell them, while women would sit at home and take care of the household and their children. Some also used to play the tulnic instrument. When I asked her what the difference between țuică and palincă is, she answered there isn’t any. “It’s the same brandy, the same țuică, made of plums, or made of apples, in some other parts they call it palincă.”

Going back to the fire up the river scene, Mr. Cristi tells us he has to stay up all night to watch the fire, in order to make țuică. The set-up is complex; you put the apples in a boiler which is heated in an oven. Years ago, one would also put plums, but this year there aren’t any, because of the weather, so most of the brandy which is made in the village is made out of apples. The boiler causes a steam to form, which passes through a three-meter tube, into a water barrel, which transforms the steam into brandy. For best results the boiling process is done twice. Mr. Cristi’s house is on the other side of the road. He has a wife and three daughters. This is what he does: he makes țuică and boilers, and he sells them. It’s just that the wooden boilers business is not going too well anymore – he tells us – because everyone now uses plastic boilers, which are cheaper. Very few are still using wooden boilers, so his clients are fewer and fewer. Of course, there are some purists who realize that the plastic will have a negative impact on the product’s quality, so they opt for wooden boilers. But, on an economic level, the business is finished. And with it so is a beautiful tradition, full of stories, which dates back centuries ago.

Mr. Cristi’s brandy is so strong (later on, I will find out it is 67 degrees strong), that I cannot drink it. I try to pour a few drops of water into it, from a two-liter bottle I have, filled with spring water, but I spill the entire bottle and the liqueur glass spills over. Mr. Cristi is visibly upset and I think that this might add to the fact that (perhaps) we bothered him since the beginning, when we showed up at 1 AM in the night, asking him about open bars. What are a Belgian and a Romanian doing on an ordinary Tuesday night, in a pretty isolated village, such as Avram Iancu?
Photo archive: Tulnic players
Photo archive: Tulnic players

Wednesday, May 8th

Unlike January, when the village was buried under snow, everything around us is now green. The parish of Avram Iancu has, besides the village with the same name, around 33 villages, scattered in the surrounding area, on both sides of the river Arieșul Mic and the County Road DJ 762. The village Avram Iancu stretches out for a few kilometers. It is the place one starts to climb up to the Găina Mountain. Avram Iancu’s bust (a prominent historical figure) lies there majestic and protective. The figure has another bust, situated on top of the Găina Mountain, at an altitude of 1486 meters.

The first work meeting with the women and girls of the group. Some we remember since January, but there are also new figures. Each of them first takes her instrument to the river, to get it wet. A professional tulnic is made out of spruce, a more sensitive type of wood. Its sonic resonance is influenced by how dry or wet the wood is. Sometimes, it is a true challenge to find the right balance between how dry or how wet a tulnic should get, in order to make it burst with the most powerful sounds.

In fact, the tulnic is a quirky musical instrument. If you get it too wet, it’s not good; you must first wait a while, until it dries. If you don’t get it wet at all, again it is not good; it will be much more difficult to make any sound;, it will play badly or not at all.

The group is made up of six persons, but we don’t get to know them at once, but throughout the art residency period. The youngest are Mihaela and Ramona. Then there are Jeni (Eugenia), Floare, Lenuța and Maria (the oldest of the tulnic players).
Photo archive of tulnic player on Mountain Găina
Photo archive of tulnic player on Mountain Găina

The Tulnic

The first tulnic sound captured by a microphone sounds strange. The tulnic needs to be tuned, just like any other instrument. Each of the tulnic players starts playing what they know.

The tulnic, as an instrument, is part of the alpenhorn family. It is an aerophone instrument, with a tubular shape, open at both ends. One blows at the end which is narrower. It has a similar structure to that of the didgeridoo, or the alpenhorn, but it has its own particularities: it is 2.5 to 3-meter-long, it features a certain type of wood used for its fabrication and both of its ends are straight.

In Romania, the tulnic (or alphorn) is an endangered species, as an instrument. Later on, we will meet Mr. Mircea, one of the very few “tulnic forgers” in the Apuseni Mountains, but, until then, over the course of rehearsals with the tulnic players and the work hours, both myself and Milan noticed that this instrument can deliver up to seven or eight notes in different keys.

There are several factors that can influence both the quality of notes, as well as their number: the way in which a tulnic is made must be in full accordance to the performer’s practical playing skills.

As we shall discover later on, playing the tulnic is not necessarily the easiest thing to accomplish. Depending on the lips’ position on the instrument and the way in which the performer blows and exhales, the tulnic acts almost as any other woodwind instrument, from saxophone to trumpet, clarinet or flute.

The instrument dates back to the times of the Dacians and the Romans. It was much later that it acquired features and the status of a music instrument, as centuries ago it was used as a means of communication, in order to let the villagers know of any event: a battle, a danger for the community, or simply a gathering of the community. It was also been used for signalling and communication by shepherds in the mountain forests, or in order to guide sheep and dogs.

The tulnic gained a special significance in the collective conscience of the people in the Apuseni during Avram Iancu’s time (1824-1874). This lawyer with a revolutionary spirit, who would “take from the rich and give to the poor” - as Mrs. Maria tells us – played a crucial role in the Revolution of 1848 in Transylvania. He was the de facto ruler of Țara Moților in 1849, leading the army of Transylvanian Romanians, and forming an alliance with the Austrian army against the Hungarian revolutionary forces led by Lajos Kossuth.

Today, Avram Iancu is considered the greatest national hero of Romanians in Transylvania, and his memory is paid special honors by locals, in particular by the moți. Time finishes what history began, and since every people needs its own emblematic figures to believe in, Avram Iancu remains an emblematic character for Transylvanian culture, which was sown in the Apuseni Mountains.

Avram Iancu was a fan and promoter of the tulnic, a sort of spiritual father. In fact, several tulnic players confirm that the tradition to play the tulnic (and not just to use it as a means of communication and signalling) was “institutionalized” by Avram Iancu. This does not mean that playing the tulnic started only then. For sure many centuries ago as well, there were shepherds who, either out in the field, or at home, would try, at a certain time, to blow free-jazz sounds akin to those of Miles Davis, Coltrane, or Ornette Coleman.

While I was doing research about the tulnic, I noticed (without surprise) that there are very few edited recordings which would feature a song repertoire for the instrument. I am referring to disc or cassette recordings. The first recordings of the tulnic that I have found belong to American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, who, in 1960, edited a compilation entitled World Library of Folk and Primitive Music Romania (featuring liner notes by Romanian musicologists Speranța Rădulescu and Tiberiu Alexandru). The compilation contains recordings of the tulnic and traditional songs from Romanian folklore. The tulnic can be found on the track “Spring Signal”, performed by Iosana Bud. These recordings were made between 1934 and 1957 by several Romanian ethnomusicologists who worked at Archive of the Institute of Folklore in Bucharest. From the same period, one can notice other tulnic players, such as Maria Toader, Saveta Petichii, Elena Pogan, and even a sole male performer, Mihai Duma.

The culture of the tulnic, as a music instrument, contains a series of short songs, which have sent, taught, and learned from one generation to another. These songs represent the essence of the tulnic's culture and tradition and date back centuries ago, carrying a cultural legacy from a very far away land.

Most songs do not go beyond the 30 second mark and are mainly made up of rhythmic, repetitive tones, that change rhythm several times during a performance, before the song starts again. Even though their structure is not a complex one, these songs feature a depth that one finds rarely, and they convey an impressive mixture of feelings (from drama, to fury, war, love, apocalypse, nostalgia, joy, and so on and so forth). They have several variations, which differ from one performer to another; some tulnic players make use of certain tones and a certain rhythm, while others can employ different tones and rhythms, of their own choice, or constrained by their own instrument or their own abilities to play the tulnic.

Among the songs and calls that are specific to tulnic performances, the most well-known are “Şipotul” (The Sound of the Brook), “Cântecul Iancului” (Iancu’s Song), “Chemarea de pe Muntele Găina” (The Call from Mount Găina), “Chemarea drăguţului” (The Call of the Lover), „Citireana”, „Chemarea vitelor la munte” (The Call of the Cattle for the Mountains), as well as other calls, on different community or family events, events which are sadder or happier.

From the Inertia Movement website we find out that the sounds made by the tulnic are sonic waves, whose values measure 250/260/265 Hz, 394/392 Hz, 518/520/525 Hz, 355 Hz, 795 Hz, 495 Hz. In an ideal world, these would correspond to the following notes, according to this table: B3 (246, 94) (Si), C4 (261, 63) (Do), G4 (392) (Sol), C5 (525, 25) (Do), F4 (349) (Fa), G5 (795) (Sol), B4 (493, 88) (SI), with the wavelengths of sounds between 165 and 66 cm. From this point of view, the tulnic is a monophonic proto-instrument, which functions as an oscillator, with its own specific timbre in the sonic spectrum. The lips’ vibration functions as a sound trigger.

More elaborate studies of the sonic capabilities for such instruments exist based on the Australian didgeridoo, featuring various elements of analysis. The cone or cylinder shape of these instruments determines the sound impedance and the notes that these instruments can sing.

The length allows the instrument to sing lower notes, such tulnics are harder to blow into, and the longest ones, measuring three meters, are not practical for transport.
Work in progress
Work in progress

Same Day, Later

Back to the stage with the drawn curtains in the village’s cultural center, we try to discover the different types of tones that the instrument is capable (or not) to create; both the instrument and the performer(s). Mrs. Maria is the most experienced tulnic player. From the first work meeting, her tulnic is the clearest. It has a good resonance.

But this is a very subjective thing, because, as I was to discover in the following days, as each day passed by, each tulnic player became better in her playing style.

As well as the other ones, the first work session consisted of recording different traditional songs that the tulnic players had learned and which date back centuries ago. Every one played, in different styles, rhythms, and tones, certain short songs with which they had been raised, or that they had learned from their predecessors. At the same time, Milan was working on a composition and was testing different ways to play the tulnic. The ladies played long, medium, short notes, rhythms. One performer would play, then two, then three, four, five, six. Throughout the work days, there were several explosive free-jazz moments, a sort of unofficial Art Ensemble of Avram Iancu. The crescendo of musical notes became a “scară” (scale), as an internal jargon developed.

Since it is a woodwind instrument, playing the tulnic means one needs strong lungs, as well as attentively used and sequenced breathing. One cannot play more than half of minute without a pause. One day, during a work session, the tulnic players played together a long, continuous sound, without any pause, for almost ten minutes, through an impressive alternation of nature’s live forces. Then, as now, the alternating sound of tulnic instruments conjures up a state of trance, of introspection, of communion with the nature, of direct link with the earth beneath us, of mediation. The continuous sound created thus falls like a rain and flows seamlessly, like the Arieș river next to us. Even though it has its limits in rendering a large number of tones and harmonies, the tulnic hides an extremely intriguing sonic complexity, directly influenced by the physical abilities of the person playing it.

Thursday, May 9th

Photo: Iosif Berman - 1928
Photo: Iosif Berman - 1928
Today we spent more time in the cultural center. Adding to what we worked yesterday, the ladies played simultaneously, each of their own “thing”. Every one of them knows how to play certain songs. At a certain point, they all started playing simultaneously. Extraordinary moments of chaos were thus created, where one can find the beauty of diving into the abyss, embracing the unknown, uncertainty, going beyond any barriers, basically a fatalist explosion of accident and uniqueness. It’s like we ate a slice of the cake that is understanding the cosmos.
Photo archive: Tulnic players
Photo archive: Tulnic players

Friday, May 10th

These liberations of divine, cosmic energies, that have floated throughout the work sessions through the air, on sonic waves, were even more sincere, if one remembers the fact that these ladies are not professional musicians. Neither of them has studied at any music school, and studying the tulnic was done individually. These songs have not been written in order to serve as music pieces; they are sent orally, from one generation to the next one. They are learned from hearing and listening to the instrument.

Saturday, May 11th

Today is a sunny day and we take advantage of it. It was cloudy the previous days and from time to time it rained. In fact, it rains here almost all the time. Because of the mountain weather, one cannot grow too many types of vegetables; basically, just potatoes.

Apart from the exercises, we now rehearse on a daily basis, and besides the playing moments which come one by one, like a sort of mantra, today we recorded in open air, in the yard behind the cultural center. The sound of the tulnic spreads far better outdoor than in closed spaces, because the lack of echo. Next to the river, the tulnic ”lives” in its own element, like a fish in the water; according to tradition, it is in a communion with nature.

In the afternoon, we climb up the Găina Mountain, by car. After 30 minutes of adventurous road by car (probably four hours on foot), we get on top of the mountain, where a bust of Avram Iancu watches over the village and its inhabitants. The Cross of Avram Iancu on top of the Mount Găina was built in 1925 by King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania. Later on, it was destroyed by the military from the communist regime and replaced with a bust of Avram Iancu and a mosaic cross.
Photo archive: Tulnic players
Photo archive: Tulnic players

Sunday, May 12th

Today we take a break from work meetings. We get up as early as we can, to go to church. We barely make it to the end of the liturgy, when the priest (who came to the village two years ago) is holding the final sermon of the Sunday Mass.

The church is raised on a small hill and does not seem to hold in more than 200 people. The priest makes one last announcement, before saying goodbye to his parishioners. There is a feeling of communion, peace and understanding in the air. The priest speaks with a calm, rare, but fierce voice. He is young, but he has authority over the community and for the villagers he is at least as important as the mayor. He has sharp eyes. In the back we see Mrs. Maria, who smiles at us, while listening carefully to the priest’s words

Later on, Mrs. Jeni tells me, with a nostalgic smile on her face, that another Avram Iancu should come again to save the community, to cut down from the pensions and salaries of politicians and raise the ones of the people. She says the difference between the two categories is huge.

Some of the younger generation either moved to Alba Iulia, or to other cities in the country, and kept their homes in this place as summer houses, or they left the country altogether and come back each year, during the summer, on vacation. Despite this, no one complains. Not even Mrs. Maria, who is 82 years old and says that in her days there was no such thing as getting depressed. Neither does Mrs. Jeni, the village mail-woman, who is 53 years old and keeps her revolutionary spirit, nor do Mihaela and Ramona who are very up to date – otherwise, a normal thing – with technological advances. Neither does Mister John (Mr. Ion), a local we meet every day, who would rather drink a 2.5-liter plastic bottled beer (bere la pet, as it is known), than five beers which cost 3 lei each (15 lei in total). The reason he does this is the fact that he saves 8.5 lei, which can, otherwise, buy him another 2.5-liter plastic bottled beer.
Milan W. and the Tulnic Ensemble Of Avram Iancu
Milan W. and the Tulnic Ensemble Of Avram Iancu

Monday, May 11th

Later on, during the work session, new modes of interpretation spring up in the sonic soundscape, as well as new harmonies, singing techniques, crescendos and decrescendos of music notes in one breath, rhythmic breathing, constant and repetitive ones, mixed and separated, tonal and atonal harmonies. The process of decomposing, deconstructing, and debunking the myth of this instrument is a challenge, as well as an adventure, a creative leap into the unknown, into uncertainty. There are, probably, dozens of ways to go about this instrument, but which one is the best? Which is the correct one? Which is the one that functions, that can bring the best out of the instrument?
Photo archive: Tulnic players
Photo archive: Tulnic players

Tuesday, May 14th

Mrs. Maria brought us pancakes.

Today was probably the most productive day so far. In a way, it is normal, because we have now developed a sort of closeness, we have already spent a few good dozens of hours together, testing different ways to play the tulnic, as well as stories about the instrument, about life, about Avram Iancu, about the history of the tulnic players, as a group.

Because the project embraces the experimental side and the contemporary expression in music, concepts like good or bad, wrong or right begin to fade away.
Inside the tulnic workshop
Inside the tulnic workshop

Wednesday, May 15th

Mrs. Jeni brought us pies.

We recorded today as well, after the now already usual routine of a few daily hours of rehearsals. There is a general evolution, and each day the tulnic seems to produce new sounds. Sometimes, the sounds are clearer, but there are moments when new harmonies spring up, that the same tulnic player had not been able to play before. Or it was perhaps she couldn’t understand what we were trying to tell her to play.

Today we went to Arieșeni, to meet one of the few tulnic makers in the Apuseni Mountains. Mr. Mircea, the tulnic maker, lives in a remote area, close to the mountain’s foothill, together with his family. It takes a 4by4 car to get to him, especially since it had recently rained. We slowly climb up to his place, five of us in an Opel break, in second gear, and at times, in first gear even. It will get dark soon, so we can barely see the horizons shaped by mountains that are full of pine trees and green landscapes.

In front of Mr. Mircea’s house, the view is sublime. He invites us in his workshop, but on the way, he treats us to some țuică (of course, why not?). He has been making tulnic instruments for 10-15 years. His workshop is full of tools of all kinds and there are a few tulnic instruments on his work table, of different sizes and colors. Some are lacquered, to make them more pleasant to the eye and more resistant, while some are white.

“The tulnic must not be exposed into the sun light”, he tells us, while he starts working on a small tulnic, to show us how the process goes. In order to be able to play a tulnic, it must be 2, even 2.5 to 3 meters long. Working at a tulnic takes several days, in sessions. First, after you build it, you hollow out the tulnic, you put it out to dry for about a week, and then you hollow it out some more. Later on, in order to make it more resistant, and to give it an aesthetic appeal, you lacquer it. He cannot play the tulnic, but Mrs. Maria Ana Gligor (a prominent figure in the tulnic culture, who is part of UNESCO’s living human heritage) comes by to his workshop, every once in a while, and “tunes” the tulnic instruments. In fact, she is the one buying most of them.

We ask them what they think of the tulnic, will it disappear? They say the tulnic is already gone, or going, anyway; youngsters have no more interest in playing it. “The young ones are leaving. They go somewhere else, to make a better living than the one they have here. They cannot do anything here.” He tells us that ice has destroyed their crops. Meanwhile, the tulnic Mr. Mircea was finishing, is now starting to have its own shape.
Milan W. & The Tulnic Ensemble Of Avram Iancu
Milan W. & The Tulnic Ensemble Of Avram Iancu

Thursday, May 17th

Today was the last work session. There were emotional moments, one could feel nostalgia floating up in the air.

In the afternoon, I went out with Milan to celebrate at the village bar that we found closed when we arrived. Even though it is 4 PM, the party in the streets seems to have just gathered momentum, with folk dances and manele. A forty years old local, with one tooth left in his mouth, shakes our hand, happy to meet us. He wants to offer us a drink, but we refuse him politely. He tells us this is his life; “I loved to drink ink, instead of using it.”


Our thanks go out to: Christoph Hammes (Europalia), Cătălin Rogojinaru (Romanian Cultural Institute), Marcel Chirițescu (Director of Avram Iancu House of Culture), the tulnic players (Maria Coroiu, Floare Stan, Eugenia Gavră, Lenuța Fiț, Ramona Pogan, Mihaela Lazăr) and to the ladies at the village shop.

*Translated from Romanian by Claudiu Oancea
**Read the Romanian version in Telekom Electronic Beats Romania

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About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic, sound researcher and allround music adventurer, with a keen interest in the anthropology of sound.

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