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Gabi Lunca

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Gabi Luncă (born in 1938) is a Roma (or “gypsy”) Lăutari singer from Romania, born in Vărbilău (Prahova County). She is a very charming performer and became a favourite of Romania’s communist ruler Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife Elena. She is also known to be a committed Christian, in a place and a time where this was a difficult position to take.

Visitors to Bucharest in the grey 1980s could witness two different worlds: Official state folklore with songs of the golden era proclaimed by Ceausescu and lively suburban music (muzica de mahala), which at that time was played at private parties. Gabi Luncă also spent many years singing at weddings, and although from the beginning of the 1990s her only performances were in Pentecostal churches, her voice remains unforgotten in Romania. Her songs are the quiet, melancholic songs of passion and yearning for one’s home, mother, or sweetheart; songs to lift the weight from one’s soul. Included among Gabi Luncă’s greatest hits are: “Omul Bun n-are noroc” (The good have no luck) and “Superata sint pe lume” (I am sad in this world). Gabi Luncă’s silvery, lightly strained singing was often copied, but never equalled, although as the accordion player Victor Gore remembers, she “always sang slightly out of time”.

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