19/04/2017On A Musical Trip Through Transylvania

"Rough Romanian Soul" is the title to their debut album and that is exactly what the Berlin-based quartet Zmei3 formed around two Romanian immigrants delivers. Classically trained vocalist Paula Turcas and band leader Mihai Victor Iliescu on guitar are joined by master vibraphonist Oli Bott and the full sound of double bass player Arnulf Ballhorn as the group conjures up a powerful blend of urban music inspired by its rural Romanian heritage. Recorded live and without overdubs in Transylvania by Grammy® award-winner Ian Brennan (whom you may remember from the Zomba Prison Project), their "beautiful and heartfelt music rises from the harsh realities and struggles of a post-Communist rule", both primal and at times haunting.

"Eastern Europe in general has been neglected by the rest of the world in terms of interest and exploration of music and culture. It has literally and deliberately been treated as a bloc. There is a great ignorance amongst many as to what Eastern Europe even is after World War II, so to have vibrant and modern music from Romania is a very valuable thing." (Ian Brennan)

Below you can watch the 30-minute documentary by German journalist Roman Rhode, which follows the group on their journey 'home' through breathtaking Transylvanian landscapes, rich in hue and heritage.

"Rough Romanian Soul" will be released on April 22nd via San Francisco imprint Six Degrees Records.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom