When Romanian singer Maria Tanase died in 1963, almost a million people flooded onto the streets of Bucharest for her funeral. A brief, grainy archival snippet on the internet reveals a sea of mourners parting around Tanase's open coffin and overflowing from every balcony.
''Maria Tanase was greatly loved and greatly respected in Romania,'' says violinist Alexander Balanescu. ''And her funeral was like a state funeral. People from that generation who were there … still remember that day.''
Balanescu was only nine at the time, and left Romania permanently a few years later, but he remembers hearing Tanase's music as a child, and listening to his parents' rapturous accounts of her live performances. It took many decades though, for those memories to resurface as the inspiration for one of his most personal projects.
Via Alin Velea