October 26, 2011

Cristian Sanda Gorun, a new star

Cristian Sanda Gorun is one of the Romanian children with golden voices. He is a very talented teenager originating in Craiova. His first participation in the world of music was as a singer and artist for a TV show entitled "My Childhood / Copilaria mea" in 2004.

I followed his evolution, and I was always impressed by his voice. He participated to the "Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2006", to the "Youth Festival 2008 / Festivalul Tineretii 2008" where his song won the trophy,  "Remember Festival 2009" or "Youth Constelation 2009 / Constelatia Juniorilor 2009" contest.

Some of his songs made touching shows. His amazing performance determined that the " Eminescu" song,  tribute to Eminescu's opera, with lyrics by Doina si Ion Aldea Teodorovici, at a 2007 Music Show, was one of the most appreciated song by the audience (not just because Eminescu is a star for Universal Culture) of the event.

He is still " A child, a new star / Un copil, o noua stea", as said one of his songs, who make you fall in love with his voice  "First and last time / Prima si ultima oara" when listening him, as said another one.

Thanks to all who shared over the web his songs.

In fact I'm always "Feeling good" listening his voice.

I was amazed again by his talent seeing his last participation at the Romanian version of "The Voice" show, "Vocea Romaniei" with "Sorry seems to be the hardest word" on music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin. (unfortunately the video is no longer available). I've loved this song since ever, can you blame me?

"What have I got to do to make you love me
What have I got to do to make you care
What do I do when lightning strikes me
And I wake to find that you're not there
What do I do to make you want me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I say when it's all over
And sorry seems to be the hardest word
It's sad, so sad
It's a sad, sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad, so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word
What do I do to make you love me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I do when lightning strikes me
What have I got to do
What have I got to do
When sorry seems to be the hardest word"

Cristian Sanda Gorun - photo courtesy of protv.ro
Cristian Sanda Gorun - photo courtesy of protv.ro
Anyhow, you should seen the reaction of all the judges Horia Brenciu, Loredana Groza, Smiley and Marius Moga when he started to sing  October 25th.  All of them decided to promote him to the next round of  "The Voice of Romania / Vocea Romaniei" show .

Good luck, Cristian!

UPDATE: December 19th, 2011

Cristian has qualified for the Final Round of "The Voice of Romania / Vocea Romaniei" show, together with Dragos Chircu, Iuliana Puschila si Stefan Stan. The final show will be held on December 26th, 2011 in Bucharest.
More details about Cristian's songs-shows come in from the official PROTV website, in their article:  Un elev de 18 ani ar putea fi VOCEA ROMANIEI! (An 18 years old school-boy could become The Voice of Romania )

Good luck, Cristian!  Mult Succes!

October 21, 2011

Promoting the Carpathian Wilderness

 I like the videos where is provided an interesting insight into the beauty and culture of Romania, and I think that any initiative to promote  Romanian Tourism is welcome.

 The beauty of Romanian wilderness
The beauty of Carpathian Wilderness

In the next one,  Charlie Ottley features the Carpathian Mountains area ("wild Carpathia") - considering it is perhaps the last great wilderness in Europe.

It is a relaxing tour where you can enjoy the Carpathian Mountains scenery to its fullest. 

Update 07.11.2011 - I came along a new trailer featuring Romanian history through the mystical ruins of the ancient Dacian civilisations and the HRH The Prince Of Wales. Still waiting to see the final version (60' duration).

October 19, 2011

Caraiman Valley on Bucegi Natural Park

I came across the beauty of the Pinus Mugo in my childhood, when I visited for first time   Caraiman Valley / Valea Caraiman  aka Mugo Pine Valley / Valea Jepilor on Bucegi Natural Park/ Parcul Natural Bucegi, Carpathians Mountains / Muntii Carpati, Romania. I'm glad that this beautiful evergreen shrub is included in the list of natural species protected by law in Romania and in many other countries.

Mugo Pine Valley, Valea Jepilor, Valea Caraiman, Bucegi Natural Park, Romania
Caraiman Valley, Valea Jepilor, Valea Caraiman, Bucegi Natural Park

Mugo Pine named also Pinus Mugo, Jneapan / Jnepeni,  Jepi, Mountain Pine, Pinus Montana or Latschenkiefer is an atypical dwarf shrub from Pinaceea family of a pine native from the sub-alpine areas of Europe, very popular in Romanian Mountains.

Wild Mugo Pine, Jneapan, grown on Bucegi Plateau, Romania
Wild Mugo Pine, Jneapan, grown on Bucegi Plateau, Romania

They grown wild over 2000 meters altitude on Bucegi Mountains Plateau, in the Carpathians Mountains and Sub-Carpathian meadows but are also very populars in gardens and parks. This year I enjoyed again their stunning beauty along the Prahova Valley and atop of the Bucegi Massif.

Mugo Pines tunnel along Small Mugo Plateau / Platoul Jepilor Mici, Carpathian Mountains, Romania
Mugo Pines tunnel along Small Mugo Pines Plateau / Platoul Jepilor Mici

In summer we spent few amazing days around Busteni, together with our friends and we enjoyed the generous weather (actually really hot) mountaineering in Bucegi Mountains. We hiked the Babele-Jepi trail, starting by Babele Cabin / Cabana Babele (2200 meters altitude), passing between Mugo Pine Valley / Valea Jepilor and Valea Izvorul Dorului, getting off to the Small Mugo Pines Plateau / Platoul Jepilor Mici, then climbing alongside Skylark Peak / Varful Ciocarlia (2056 meters), cutting through a mugo pines tunnel more then half of hour and, finally... camping at Burnt Rock Cabin/ Cabana Piatra Arsa (1950 meters).

Piatra Arsa Cabin/ Cabana Piatra Arsa/ Burnt Rock Cabin, Bucegi Mountains, Muntii Carpati, Romania
Piatra Arsa Cabin/ Burnt Rock Cabin/ Cabana Piatra Arsa, Bucegi Mountains

This hiking trip remembered me one song learned at a camp in my childhood, named  "On the Loose". Hope you like it, too.

On the loose to climb a mountain, On the loose where I am free,
On the loose to live my life the way I think my life should be.
For I only have a moment, and a whole world yet to see.
I'll be lookin' for tomorrow on the loose.

Have you ever seen the sunrise turn the sky completely red?
Have you slept beneath the moon and stars with pine boughs for your bed?
Have you sat and talked with friends, though a word was never said?
Then you're just like me and you've been on the loose.

There's a trail that I'll be hiking just to see where it might go,
Many places yet to visit, many people yet to know.
But in following my dreams, I will live and I will grow,
In a world that's waiting there for you on the loose.


October 18, 2011

Autumnal Emotion

The colorful autumn is again in the air, filling with emotions our souls, and this make me to remember a song dear to my heart "Autumnal Emotion / Emotie de Toamna".  I've liked  Nicu Alifantis' talent since 80's when his career boosted by joining the folk movement promoted by Adrian Paunescu at  "The Flame Literary Circle / Cenaclul Flacara" . He is  a Romanian folk singers, musician and actor born on May 31st, 1954, in Braila, Romania.  You may read the English translation of the verses when listen him playing on his acoustic guitar and singing in Romanian the "Autumnal Emotion / Emotie de Toamna" song (thanks to doktorul for the video)

" Autumnal Emotion"  
                                    lyrics by Nichita Stanescu.
Autumn has come, it has come,
Cover with something my heart,
With the shadow of a tree or better,
Or better with your shadow.
I'm afraid that I won't see you sometimes,
That it will grow wings pointed to the clouds,
That you will mask behind an unusual eye,
And it will finish with a leaf of wormwood.
And I come nearby stones and I remain silent
I take the words and I sink them into the sea
I whistle to the moon, rising it and growing it
Into a great love...

Emoţie de toamnă
                         versuri Nichita Stanescu

A venit, a venit toamna,
acoperă-mi inima cu ceva,
Cu umbra unui copac sau mai bine
sau mai bine cu umbra ta.

Mă tem ca n-am să te mai văd uneori,
Că au să-mi crească aripi ascuţite până la nori,
Că ai să te ascunzi într-un ochi străin,
Şi el o să se-nchidă cu o frunză de pelin.
Şi-atunci mă apropii de pietre şi tac,
Iau cuvintele şi le-nec în mare.
Şuier luna şi o răsar şi o prefac
Într-o dragoste mare.


October 13, 2011

The Legend of Poenari Citadel

The Romanian literature and history is so little known all over the world. As child I was sitting for hours listening Fairy Tales / Basme  and Legends/ Legende retold by my grandparents every night. I like to remember them and I hope you'll enjoy their magically beauty.

A great collection of Romanian folk tales and historical legends, named "Roumanian Fairy Tales and Legends" was published in 1881  by E.B. Mawr, and republished  in 2008 by Forgotten Books

I remembered about it when I saw some images from the "Pro History/ Pro Istoria Festival" at the Poenari Citadel/ Cetatea Poenari.

The funds for this event where people enjoyed medieval shows, exhibits with arms and aromour worn by Romanian medieval warriors, and a great compilation of  Live Music Concerts with traditional, medieval and modern songs, were obtained through the "Sistem si prietenii - cetatea Poenari, respect pentru trecut" project.

"Sistem and friends - Poenari Citadel, Worship to the Past"  is a  project realized with European Structural Funds which promotes the historical region of  Oratia Citadel and Poenari Citadel. The funds are being also used for rehabilitation and reconstruction of access way to the fortresses.  You can see a nice photo gallery of Poenari Citadel and Arefu village on the new website developed in same project  (unfortunately just Romanian version) at  http://www.cetateapoenari.ro/galerie-foto

The  Poenari Citadel / Poenari Castle / Cetatea Poenari  is the Fortress where Dracula's Legend started, or, more precisely, the castle where Vlad Tepes has lived (it was known also as "Cetatea lui Negru Voda" or "Cetatea lui Tepes Voda"), on the Arges River Valey, close to Fagaras Mountains. The ruined castle is a worldwide attraction, not extensive in size, which stands on a cliff from Fagaras Mountains (860 metters altitude), on the right side of the DN7C (Transfăgărăşean Road) Piteşti – Curtea de Argeş – Vidraru. Some Romanians named the trail " The great Romanian Wall", and there is a manageable walk up until the ruins, but need to climb many steps (1480) to reach it. The legend tells:

Poenari Citadel / Poenari Castle / Cetatea Poenari, Romania

The fortress of Poinarii

CONSTANTINOPOLE had fallen into the hands of the Turks, and disorder reigned in the Roumanian Principalities, mainly occasioned by the pretenders to the thrones.

In Moldavia, Stephen, who was afterward sur-named the Great, made war against Aron, the murderer of his father, Bogdan, and putting to flight Berendei, who disputed his power, remained sole master of the crown, which he was destined to wear so gloriously for more than 40 years.

In Wallachia, Vlad the 5th, son of Vlad the Devil, cut his way to the throne, sabre in hand, and maintained it by the greatest terrorism and tyranny.

He formed a numerous army, cut off the heads of more than 500 Boyards, who would not join his party, caused to be massacred on one pretext or another, more than 20,000 men; and burned alive, in a barn, 400 Hungarians, whom he ordered to be shut up there, and who were living in his country.

These exploits accomplished, he crossed the Carpathians, and went into Transylvania, set fire to the four corners of the town of Brasov (Cronstadt), and seizing a number of the inhabitants, caused them to be empaled in front of the St. Jacob Church.

He then returned to his Principality, feared even more than death itself by the people, and having acquired the stigma to his name--Vlad the Empaler!


Had this tyrant contented himself with empaling Hamzi, the Pasha of Widdin, in the midst of the Turks, whom with Hamzi he had made prisoners; if his brutal rage, and his thirst for blood, had been exercised against the enemies of his country, that might have passed; there would have been some excuse--some extenuation for his senseless cruelty.

Vlad the Empaler, was an exception--monstrous, even in those barbaric times, which God in his malediction, does sometimes send as a curse to his people.

Vlad was created for the part he played; he hated foreigners! he bated the Boyards! he hated the people! He massacred, empaled, killed, without distinction for his own pleasure and security.


Vlad waged a war of extermination against the Turks augmented his army, and raised many fortresses his coffers were empty, and he laid heavy taxes upon his people. Poor and rich alike Must all contribute to give him money. But the people revolted, all--great and small--refused the heavy impositions which he wished to force upon them. Vlad drew back an instant, full of rage, and swearing to himself to be terribly revenged, when the suitable moment presented itself.

It was not long in coming!

In Tergoviste, all is joy! It is 1470, and Easter Day! Every one is out in holiday attire, wending their way towards the church, or walking about the streets; the bells are ringing, and everything seems joyous under this bright blue sky. Vlad, alone, is sombre and silent. He has not forgotten that once he was obliged to bend to the will of his subjects, and dreams continually of vengeance.


All at once he rises, and calls around him his Captains, and gives his instructions to them in a low voice.

Soon, armed soldiers are assembled in the Castle Court; they leave by detachments, in silence, spread themselves along the streets of Tergoviste, close in the public places, and surround the churches. All who were outside, laughing, or inside, at the foot of the altar,--those who smiled, and those who prayed, all found themselves in a circle of iron, seized, thrown pell mell into the enclosure of the palace. Men, women, children, without distinction of age, sex, or condition were there-mute and terror-stricken, awaiting some great and inevitable calamity. Vlad regarded them with a mocking laugh; his eye, as it glanced over them, was that of a wild beast which has its prey in its power, and rejoicing at the nameless horror which he saw depicted on all their faces; he decided to make them acquainted with his will.


The Empaler had been one day hunting along the banks of the river Argis, and had remarked on Mount Albina, a position which he considered admirable. It was an immense rock, on the top of which was a capacious platform, but so high that it seemed to touch the clouds.

Vultures, and birds of prey, alone, inhabited it, and the tumultuous waves of the Argis, beat continually at its base.

Vlad conceived the design, there to build a fortress, which would be impregnable; but for that, he needed money, and his people had refused it to him! Then he came to another resolution, and with this he now made his prisoners acquainted.

"You would not give me the money I needed," he said, "well, keep it! I will not have you killed to chastise you for your revolt, but I condemn you all, just as you are, to build with your own hands a Fortress on the top of Mount Albina. I wish it to be the largest, the best built, and the most impregnable of all which I possess. You will not leave the mountain until all is finished. My soldiers, have the right of life and death over you, to force you to carry out my instructions."


No sooner said than done, and these unfortunate creatures, young and old, huddled together in gala dress, without saying good-bye to those who were happy enough to have remained at home, were conducted, like criminals, to the bank of the river, at the foot of the mountain. Then, after making footpaths, almost perpendicular in the mountain, they gained the platform, and were surrounded by their stern guardians, exposed to every change in the atmosphere, and to nameless tortures.

Masons, stonecutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, all those who knew any trade, set to work. Those who hitherto had been brought up in luxury, mixed mortar, women chipped stones, young girls carried water, and even children were set to work suitable for their age. One might see at the top and the sides of the mountain, a human ant-hill, always in motion, occupied in this atrocious labour.

Sun, rain, and wind, blackened their faces; their clothes hung in shreds; their features haggard and careworn, some eyes burning with rage, others with the submission of despair. These are no longer human beings, but machines, stupified by sorrow, and no longer able oven to implore God above, to send down his maledictions on the tyrant. Still their work progressed, and soon this citta dolente, was completed.

Vlad arrives, and after looking at it with the minutest attention, seeing that it equaled his expectations, in his clemency, sent back to their dwellings all that remained of these miserable workpeople.

On the banks of the Arges, not far from Stoieneste, may still be seen the ruins of what is called in the country, the cursed ruins of the Fortress of Poinarii.