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ROMANIAN WEEKEND AT THE WHARF: The Landmark of Romanian Cultural Presences in America Reaches Its 3rd Edition

Updated: 6 hours ago

Music, dance, food, wine, spoken word performances, concerts, and craft shows with a view!


Recommended by Washington Post, Axios, Washingtonian & NBC Washington





ABOUT THE FESTIVAL


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 DC summer.


With three days of non-stop music, traditional crafts demonstrations, literary performances, culinary presentations, temporary exhibitions, wine& sampling, and interactive activities, 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.





MEET THE ARTISTS & CRAFTSMEN



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.



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 lands of Maramureș are blessed with secular forests and this extraordinary natural wealth has had a major influence on culture and craftsmanship. Come and meet wood craftsman Ioan Bârsan who proudly carries forward the work of his father, Toader. Our wood craftsman 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!


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 beautiful Bistrița Năsăud County, in Romania, at the bottom of the stunning Rodna Mountains, Andreea Rebăltescu pursued her dreams and emigrated to the USA in 2006 after graduating from the esteemed Gheorghe Dima Conservatory in Cluj. From the moment she arrived in the USA, she proudly represented Romania captivating audiences at various public and private events. Andreea is committed to showcasing the beauty of Romanian traditional folk songs and costumes from different regions of her beloved country. For Romanian Weekend at the Wharf, she collaborated with Salagean Robert, a music producer at Salagean Music in Romania, who arranged the music accompanying Andrea’s performance. The repertoire, featuring songs famously sung by the legendary Maria Tănase, is not to be missed. Andreea’s unwavering passion for her craft shines through in every note she sings and every step she takes in upholding and promoting the cultural heritage of Romania.



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”


Via Transilvanica 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 their diversity and authenticity. It’s the road that wishes to uncover Romania and represent its rich heritage across the Globe. It celebrates the ethnic, cultural, historical, natural and geographical diversity of the country, which is still a mystery for the world. Via Transilvanica has reached a final form, which can be described in numbers. It has 1.400 kilometers, crosses ten counties in Romania which were grouped in seven cultural regions, as it follows: Bucovina, The Highlands, Terra Siculorum, Terra Saxonum, Terra Dacica, Terra Banatica, Terra Romana.



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.



RECOMMENDATIONS




Romanian-American influencer Edsta recommends Romanian Weekend at The Wharf 2024



UPDATES


Photo Gallery by LucyJo Photos | The Wharf, Washington, D.C., July 12-14, 2024






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