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Phoenix - Mugur De Fluier (1974)



Pamiętam ten zespół z dawnych czasów. Phoenix to rumuńska grupa i chyba jedna z niewielu, która za czasów reżimu Causescu proponowała "zachodnią" muzykę, czyli progressiv rocka. To jest jakiś ewenement, ale i tak grupie nie udało się ominąć cenzury. Nakłady płyt też nie były zbyt wielkie. Dlatego właśnie analogowe wydania pierwszych płyt są na wagę złota i na rynku kolekcjonerskim osiągają spore ceny. Pamiętam, że na Zachodzie można było wynienić Phoenixa na równie ciekawe i mocne "zachodnie" tytuły, ale nie było łatwo ze zdobyciem tych rumuńskich rarytasów.

Nicolae Covaci - ghitara solo, fluier , voce, percutie, double-six
Mircea Baniciu - voce, ghitara acustica, percutie
Iosef Kappl - ghitara bass, voce, percutie, vioara, blockflote
Costin Petrescu - baterie , tambal
Valeriu Sepi - percutie



Transsylvania Phoenix or, more commonly, just Phoenix, is one of the most prominent Romanian Rock and Roll bands of the latest decades, and also the first one to take musical inspiration from ancient Romanian folk themes. Formed in the 1960s, it began by doing covers of Beatles songs. However, they soon had to change their style since the Romanian communist regime disliked any form of western culture. The communist regime suggested that all rock oriented bands should look for inspiration within the Romanian culture. These restrictions made the band's leader Nicolae Covaci search within the Romanian folklore, which gave them a unique sound.

Phoenix was launched in the cosmopolitan town of Timişoara in 1962 by a pair of schoolboys: Nicu Covaci and Béla Kamocsa, under the name of Sfinţii (The Saints) (...) In 1965 they had their first big concert in Bucharest. Their performance brought a collaboration with Cornel Chiriac to record some of their songs. (...)

In December 1967 Phoenix had their first major series of concerts in many western cities, capped off by two huge concerts in Timişoara. After winning a few prizes in national students' contests, held at Iaşi the following year, in 1968 they recorded their first EP, Vremuri (Old Times), containing two original songs, Vremuri and Canarul (The Canary), and two covers (Lady Madonna - The Beatles and Friday on my Mind - Easybeats). A second EP would follow one year later, named Floarea stâncilor (The Flower of the Rocks), with all four songs being original compositions. Both albums sport a sound reminiscent of the beat style popular in that era. They then started working on a rock theater play "Omul 36/80" (The Man 36/80) which won several prizes for originality. (...)

Communist officials were not very comfortable with the Western-style music that they were singing, and kept creating them problems. So Phoenix abandoned beat turned to Romanian folklore, pagan rituals, mystic animals and old traditions. In 1970, Phoenix started a collaboration with the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore and the Folklor section of Timişoara University on an ambitious project, a rock poem that combined traditional wooden instruments with modern sounds. The first outcome would be the 1972 LP Cei ce ne-au dat nume (Those Who Gave Us Our Names) - the first LP to be recorded in Romania by a Romanian band. Two years later, Mugur de fluier (Flute Bud) followed. Both albums underwent severe censorship.


Floarea Stincilor (EP) 1969

In 1973 Phoenix represented Romania at the "Golden harp" festival in Bratislava (Slovakia) and then in the "Disc festival" in Sopot (Poland). Also, they wanted to record a new rock-opera, named "Meşterul Manole", but the communist officials censored it all, by "losing" the unique book with costume sketches and lyrics given to them for official approval. The result was only a EP with an extract from the opera, Meşterul Manole, uvertură (Meşterul Manole, uverture) and two older songs, Mamă, Mamă (Mother, Mother) and Te întreb pe tine, soare... (I'm asking you, sun...).

(...) The "Cantafabule" show was first presented in Timişoara in February 1975. The disc was recorded in a very short time and was published the same year with a misspelling in the title: "Cantofabule." What followed were two years of almost continuous concerts but also the creation of the soundtrack for the movie "Nemuritorii".

By this time, the popularity of Phoenix had grown huge; people loved their songs not only for what they were, but also because

they contained thinly-veiled allusions to the Communist regime. The band members, especially Nicu Covaci, found themselves increasingly harassed by the Securitate. Covaci married a Dutch woman and left the country in 1976. He returned in 1977, bringing in relief aid for those struck by the powerful earthquake on March 4. After two grandiose concerts in Constanţa and Tulcea, Covaci surprisingly left the country again, this time with all the band members (except Baniciu) hidden inside their Marshall speakers - a huge undertaking, since in Communist Romania it was extremely difficult to obtain approval to travel abroad, and illegal border crossing was punished with imprisonment.

After arriving in Germany, Phoenix disbanded. Kappl and a few others (Erlend Krauser, Ovidiu Lipan) formed a new band, Madhouse and released a not very successful album named From The East. In 1981, Covaci co-opted Neumann and Lipan and English bassist Tom Buggie, who had an amazing technical playing ability, under the name Transsylvania Phoenix (since a band named Phoenix already existed) and released an LP named Transsylvania, containing two old Phoenix songs translated into English to target the Western audience and five new ones. Covaci together with Kappl also released two EPs and one maxi single as Transsylvania-Phoenix. (from transsylvaniaphoenix.blogspot)

I found this rare albums somewhere in the web. I don't know the ripper. Thank you the Unknown.

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