How you doina?
I do a fair amount of scouring YouTube for music in the Romanian language. It helps me learn the language and sometimes I find a jewel hidden in between all the manele.
When I found Doina, I was kind of shocked that I had never heard about it before. It seems to be a very important part of Romanian folk tradition and heritage of the people. You would think that someone would’ve mentioned it (or maybe I would have seen mention of it somewhere!), but for whatever reason, I had to discover it on my own. Perhaps I’ve been hearing it all along, and I just never realized it 🙂
Doina is a type of traditional Romanian music. The improvisational style of Doina melodies is what makes it so beautiful; they are the expression of the melancholy soul and its longing (dor).
There are different kinds of Doina: the songs of shepherds and peasants, drinking songs, lullaby, outlaws, and perhaps one more familiar to American audiences, klezmer. Yes, klezmer music is descendant from the Doina music form (don’t forget that until the 1930s, Romania had a population of over 750,000 Jews). Doinas can be sung without accompaniment, with simple instruments such as flute or even a leaf (!), or enhanced with multiple instruments like violin or accordion.
In 2009, UNESCO added Doina to its list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity“.
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite Doina songs so far:
Doina Oltului (instrumental):
Doina Basarabia (instrumental):
Doina din Wallachia (instrumental):
Outlaw’s Doina (Doina haiduceasca):
Doina din Maramureș by the lovely Maria Tanase
Lullaby Doina (again by Maria Tanase!)
Doina de Jale (of grief):
Argatu’ also has a Doina de Jale for a more modern take:
Perhaps my most favorite modern Doina of all, from Subcarpati (of course):