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Fri, Jul 12

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Washington

ROMANIAN WEEKEND AT THE WHARF: The Biggest Romanian Cultural Event in America Reaches Its 3rd Edition

CONCERTS, DANCE SHOWS, SPOKEN WORD PERFORMANCES, CRAFTS DEMONSTRATIONS, CHILDREN ACTIVITIES, BOOKS, CLOTHING & JEWELRY EXHIBITIONS, FOOD & WINE SAMPLING

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ROMANIAN WEEKEND AT THE WHARF:  The Biggest Romanian Cultural Event in America Reaches Its 3rd Edition
ROMANIAN WEEKEND AT THE WHARF:  The Biggest Romanian Cultural Event in America Reaches Its 3rd Edition

Time & Location

Jul 12, 2024, 12:00 PM – Jul 14, 2024, 7:00 PM

Washington, 760 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

About The Event

In only three years since its launching in 2022 as a joint initiative of the Embassy of Romania to the United States and the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, THE ROMANIAN WEEKEND AT THE WHARF has reinvented the public and cultural diplomacy of Romania in the United States. Massive in scale, with an ingenious programming, this tumultuous, diverse, and participatory festival has grown year after year to become not only the milestone of Romanian cultural presence in America but also one of the most entertaining events of the D.C. summer.

With three days of non-stop concerts, dance shows, spoken word performances, crafts demonstrations, children activities, books, clothing & jewelry exhibitions, food & wine sampling, the festival literally takes over The Wharf, the popular Washington esplanade by the Potomac, offering an exciting experience for all the senses and the perfect context for cultural discoveries and for cementing the Romanian-American friendship.

THE ROMANIAN WEEKEND AT THE WHARF is initiated, co-organized and co-financed by the Embassy of Romania to the United States and the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, with the support of the Maramureș County Council and numerous partners, collaborators, and friends from both sides of the Atlantic.

The minute by minute program of the festival is available HERE.

Poster photo by Johnny Vacar

Simion Bogdan-Mihai and The Silken Fiddlers Headline the Romanian Festival

The whiz kid of Romanian traditional music, Simion Bogdan-Mihai, began to study the elusive “cobza” - a medieval Eastern European lute – when he was only 15 years old. Since then, he has collaborated with artists from various musical genres and has never seized to experiment with an age-old musical tradition, incorporating Ottoman, Jewish, Russian, Romani and Hungarian soundscapes, that was transmitted orally from generation to generation. In 2017, he formed a traditional fiddler band, Lăutarii de Mătase (The Silken Fiddlers), which soon has become one of the most sought-after and praised group of this kind in Romania. In 2021, they released their first album, entitled “Valahia in Demol” (“Wallachia in D minor”), followed two years later, in 2023, by their second album, entitled “Drum pavat cu bolovani” (“Road paved with boulders”), which went on to become one of the best-selling albums of that year. Bogdan finds inspiration in three musical traditions: Romanian folk music, the fiddle music of the Roma musicians, and the interwar Romanian pop music (waltzes, tangos and cabaret songs). The Silken Fiddlers are Nelu Răducanu (cymbalom), Mandi Pană (violin), Cornel Neacșu (accordion), Robert Adam-Szoltan (double bass), Cristi Adam (viola-bratsch) and Vicenzo Deacu (acoustic piano).

Awesome “Transylvania” Ensemble in a D.C. Encore

The National Folk Ensemble “Transylvania”, based in Baia Mare, Maramureş County, was founded in 1959 with the specific aim to treasure and promote the immemorial folk traditions of Northwestern Romania, preserved from generation to generation to this day. The ensemble fulfills its mission through performances that offer authentic and spectacular displays of the richness of Maramureș region arts, crafts, and traditions. At the same time, “Transylvania”’s recitals offer the occasion to parade superb folk costumes and beautiful hand-made jewelry, made by artisans who pride themselves of preserving age-old techniques. The ensemble has represented Romania to international fairs and exhibitions for decades as a great ambassador of the fascinating world of the Romanian traditional village.

Recital: Mesmerizing Paula Hriscu and The Romanian Folk Dream 

"My music is the breath of my soul" – this is Paula Hriscu’s motto, and this absolute commitment permeates all her music. Born in Brad, on the breathtakingly beautiful slopes of the Apuseni Mountains in Western Transylvania, Paula is one of Romania’s young stars of traditional folk music. Beautiful and charismatic, she is known for her uncompromising sense of authenticity and her original repertoire, based on serious research in remote Transylvanian villages. Paula came to music rather late in life, at 22, overcoming a serious health problem that changed her life. Her first album, released in February 2020 and entitled "Nu-i bai că-s micuță/ It doesn't matter that I’m short", created quite a stir and drew praises from some of the greatest names of the Romanian traditional folk scene. But Paula’s breakthrough came in December 2020 when she stole the limelight with a superb interpretation of a previously unknown Transylvanian carol, "M-o trimis mama la capre/ My mother sent me with the goats", which she sang together with renown tenor Bogdan Mihai. In April 2021, there came another hit, the religious song "Ce folos / What’s the use". A daring artist who doesn’t shy away from experimentation, Paula has also collaborated with artists from other genres, including hip-hop and pop. She is currently working on two new albums, one of carols and the other of religious songs, which will be released by the end of 2024.

Vox Maris & Paula Hriscu Rock the Wharf

Vox Maris is a Chicago-based band formed 12 years ago by a group of Romanian-American musicians with fans all over the U.S. and beyond. Their debut single, entitled "Far from Home", has become a sort of unofficial anthem of Romanians everywhere. Over the years, the group has collaborated with several musicians from the Romanian-American artistic community on various charity projects and cultural events. At “The Romanian Weekend at The Wharf” they will be fronted by Paula Hriscu, a folk performer known for her mesmerizing voice, her contagious vitality, and a distinctive sound that is proof of the lasting appeal of the folk music.

The Acrobatic “Dancers from Groși Village”

Documented since 1411, the Groși Village from Northern Transylvania is famous for a specific folk dance named the Dance at the Barn (Danț la șură). The spectacular dance, which was banned by the communist authorities for a long time but thankfully was revived after the fall of the dictatorship, is only performed on Sundays after church or during the holidays. The choreography is unique to the Groși Village and quite acrobatic: the girls are not just partners in the dance but they also have to support the boys as they, at one point, jump over their heads. Wow!

Our Story Carved in Wood. Wood carving demonstrations

The land of Maramureș in Northwestern corner of Romania is blessed with majestic forests from immemorial times, and this extraordinary natural wealth has had huge impact on the region’s culture and its craftsmanship. Craftsman Ioan Bârsan, who proudly carries forward the work of his father, Toader, keeps alive the tradition of working in wood and creates monumental works as well as household and decorative objects.

The Potter's House. Spin the potter's wheel! Pottery demonstrations

Potter Vasile Chira of Cărbunari village is a legendary name in traditions-rich Maramureș. His mentor, Liviu Sitar, first introduced him to pottery 20 years ago. Since then, this ancient craft has become a lifelong passion, and Vasile is now a master of the clay who keeps the tradition alive and thriving. He is always eager to share his vast knowledge with all those willing to give it a try.

Weave the Treads of Life. Traditional weaving and textiles from Northern Transylvania

Embellishing fabrics with stitches is a craft known since Antiquity. In Romania, this traditional sewing technique has recently made a big comeback. Măriora Dobrican, a renowned craftsman from Maramureș, Northern Transylvania, has revived the art of stitching in vegetal and geometric motifs, using a series of old sewing techniques, passed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. Mărioara ignited her passion decades ago as the result of a humble task: she had to make a traditional shirt for her husband. In the process, she had to learn the old techniques, one thing led to another…and the rest is history.

Let’s Celebrate Together the Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse!

The beautiful blouse, one of the world’s best-known women attires, is so famous that has an international day named after it, celebrated every year on June 24. The date is also observed in Washington, D.C. as the Day of the Romanian Folk Costume. The splendid blouse is one of the stars of “The Romanian Weekend at The Wharf” as admirers (and wearers) of it from the U.S., Romania and the Republic of Moldova will gather on the festival’s stage on July 13 at 4:00 pm to read the Proclamation issued by the Mayor of Washington, D.C. in honor of the beloved Romanian garment. The Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse, a global event coordinated by the online community La Blouse Roumaine, is celebrated on six continents, in over 60 countries and 130 cities.

Perennial Inspiration. Today’s designers celebrate the legacy of Romanian traditional textiles and crafts

Folk motifs, shapes, colors and techniques have always been a major source of inspiration for the Romanian, and international, fashion designers. True to this tradition, up-and-coming Izabela Mandoiu creates contemporary clothing integrates ancient motifs in a most striking way. Her collection includes characteristic geometric and floral patterns, which are hand sewn or machine embroidered, as well as vintage Romanian blouses, which have been carefully restored with a fresh look, or new ones, made following time-honored techniques. The clothing items are accompanied by a special series of earrings, also of folkish inspiration, made by the brand una peste alta (one over the other) from carefully selected glass beads with metal fittings of stainless steel. The chromatic choices offer an explosion of color.

Andreea Rebăltescu: The Princess of Romanian American Pop Folk in Concert

Born in the picturesque Bistrița-Năsăud County, Northern Romania, Andreea Rebăltescu moved to the U.S.A. in 2006 after graduating from the Musical Conservatory in Cluj, the country’s second largest city. As a performer, Andreea is committed to showcasing the beauty of Romanian traditional folk songs and costumes from different regions of her native lands. Her unwavering passion for her craft shines through in every note she sings. For the segment presented on the stage of the “Romanian Weekend at the Wharf”, Andreea has worked with producer Robert Salagean of Salagean Music in Romania, who arranged a repertoire featuring songs made famous by the legendary Maria Tănase, the greatest Romanian folk singer.

Dance Along with “Carpathia” Folk Dance Ensemble

Founded in 2011, “Carpathia” Folk Dance Ensemble is a Washington, D.C.-based multi-ethnic folk-dance group that has become well-known for its authentic performances of Romanian traditional dances. The all-volunteer group performs dances from all regions of Romania and includes both performers of Romanian origin and people who, without having Romanian roots, are nevertheless fascinated with Romanian culture and tradition. During our event, you can watch “Carpathia” perform a variety of Romanian dances such as Alunelu’, Rustem, Geamparale, and more.

Romanian Literature in America: Bridging Words 

Literature has brought Romanians and Americans together since the dawn of our transatlantic friendship. Discover a trove of recent books by Romanian-American authors and enjoy spoken word performances curated and co-managed by Bucharest Inside the Beltway (BiB, bibdenver.com).

Via Transilvanica: “The Road that Unites” extends to the Wharf

Via Transilvanica, a way similar to the Appalachian Trail, is the first and longest long-distance trail in Romania, dedicated to hiking, biking and horseback riding. It is the road that unites people in both their diversity and shared values; that uncovers the generous heritage and beautiful landscapes of Romania to itself and to the world; that celebrates the ethnic, cultural, historical, natural and geographical richness of a country that has a lot to offer. Via Transilvanica is about 900 miles long and crosses Romanian North-South, passing through several Romanian regions: Bucovina, Transylvania, Banat, and Oltenia.

The Drawing Hut. Children young and old explore Romania in pencil and color

Do you know the colors of the Romanian flag? Or how did look like Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula? Maybe you want to know how many counties are in Romania? Find out all this and much more while drawing.

The Joy of Romanian Wines. Drinkable happiness! A selection of gorgeous wines to try and buy

With exquisite winemaking skills developed in centuries, an impressive variety of native grapes and growing conditions comparable to the best terroirs in France or the United States, Romania is a major winemaking country offering some of the best surprises a wine lover can dream of.

Community Leadership. People and organizations from Romanian-American communities

The Romanian-American communities are as strong and vibrant as their organizations. The network of foundations and associations representing Americans of Romanian origin is dynamic and ever-expanding, with missions ranging from education, culture, social work and even international affairs. Since its inception, “The Romanian Weekend at the Wharf” has not only provided the context for cultural discoveries, but also an occasion to celebrate the leaders and organizations of the Romanian communities from all over the United States.

Check out the official website of the festival to find out everything you need to plan your visit: https://www.romanianfestivaldc.com/

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