Prima Facie

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The Byzantium Connection (PFCD114) £12.50

Music for double bass by Michael Cretu


1 Rambi Rambi 4.21
2 Dance and Improvisation 7.33
3 Ah Ya Zain 4.47
4-7 Sonata for solo Double Bass
8-11 Homeland for Violin and Double Bass
12 Electronic Ah Ya Zain 8.34
13 Electro Rambi Rambi 4.58

In the mid 18th century, during the Ottoman occupation of the Romanian principalities, Walachia, Moldova and Transylvania, musicians from Michael’s family belonged to the monastery of Bistrita and its land. Around that time, Ipsilante, the new King of Moldova and Walachia, appointed by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, bought the lands of the monastery and relocated the Cretu family to the village Odaia Vizirului, by the Danube river. King Ipsilante and his niece (who had married the count of Rome) also had an important residence nearby. There is strong evidence that the Cretu family became musicians and entertainers in residence to the King and his family. In 1848, Petrea Cretu, a member of the family band, who became very famous in the region, moved and became a violinist and singer in Braila. In 1884 he was one of the first folk musicians to talk and play at the Bucharest Philharmonic.

Michael’s uncle, Johnny Raducanu (Raducan Cretu) - the brother of Michael’s father, pianist Dumitru Cretu, is considered the father of Romanian jazz. and the annual jazz festival and competition is held in his name an- nually in the city of Braila. In his composition for solo Double Bass, Michael is strongly influenced by Romanian folk music and its connection with the Byzantine world. Michael believes that somehow, miraculously, Romanian folk music brought together the two diverse cultures of the east and west of the Roman Empire; on the one hand the Romanian language, (a ‘gift’ from the Romans) and its strong connection with the folk song, and on the other the vast influences from the Byzantine empire, through the Orthodox Church and Ottoman empire.

"This CD is dedicated to my family; my mother and father, my uncle, my partner and to my wonderful daughter Sofia."

Michael is grateful to the Romanian Double Bass school and would like to pay tribute to its founder Joseph Prunner, probably the greatest virtuoso of all time.

Prima Facie is grateful to the University of Salford for financial assistance towards this project.

Produced, engineered and mixed by Steve Kilpatrick
Assistant - Fuchsia Summerfield
Recoded at Salford University studios
Mixed at Soundfackery Productions
Electronic Ah Ya Zain - M Cretu/S Kilpatrick
Electro Rambi Rambi - M Cretu/S Kilpatrick vocals Anikó Tóth
Cover Photo - Shirlaine Forrest
Violin player for Homeland - Jisun Youn
All compositions by Michael Cretu apart 1,3,12,13 Trad, arr Cretu
Mastered by Phil Hardman

For further details of this recording, please download the CD booklet

Michael Cretu

Michael Cretu
Michael Cretu is an internationally recognised musician and composer, whose family has a long musical tradi- tion dating back to the 17th Century. Born in Bucharest, Romania Michael has been playing the double bass since he was 12. At the age of 19, he joined the Romanian National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Michael studied music at George Enescu Music School in Bucharest and he won a scholarship to complete his post- graduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Michael is an associate and artist in residence at Salford University. Michael also plays in a contemporary Jazz trio with Ed Barnwell on piano and Mikey Wilson on drums.