The name of the album is well found: the music of Maria Tănase, the most beloved singer in the history of Romania, is indeed a true spiritual experience. Her folk songs, her songs of the slums, her personal and impassioned manner of singing, her distinguished, almost regal, appearance have rightfully turned her into a diva.
Although not risk-free, the decision made by Oana Cătălina Chițu to bring to the Western public this Eastern music phenomenon turned to be a real success. The heritage of Maria Tănase, taken from a multicultural Interwar Bucharest, was transferred as an inter-generation dialogue to nowadays’ Berlin, where artists from all over the world have found a meaningful life.
The album is like a time travel: from the interwar period, then to the first (brutal) years of communism of the Iron Curtain up to the present year. However, this album is also a space travel: from the East of Europe, with its melancholy and exuberance, to the more sedate and more rigorous West.
Through this album, Oana Cătălina Chițu has meant to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Maria Tănase. She used to play her music, with much pleasure and admiration, feeding on her mother’s stories, who had seen Maria Tănase perform. The destiny of the Romanian diva was a tragic one, just like one of her songs: she died when she was only 49, not long after she found out she had lung cancer, leaving a few hundred recordings which have made her immortal.
Among young Romanian singers, Oana Chițu has managed to contribute in a unique manner: she has refashioned the most beautiful Romanian songs and reinterpreted them with Eastern musicians, each with their own sensitivity and cultural heritage. It is a collector’s item.