What comes to mind when you think of the words, "folk music?" From my own experience I know that whenever someone mentioned folk music, my reaction was generally pretty negative, even though when I think of the handful of American folk songs I do know my reaction to them individually is pretty positive. So as an American it has taken a little getting used to just how popular Moldovan "popular music" really is.
Moldovan folk music or "popular music" (not to be confused with pop music) has very little in common with American folk music. In general it tends to rely a lot more on violins, trumpets and perhaps surprisingly accordions. The music is usually very much up tempo and sometimes can be hard to follow because of its fast pace, which is in quite contrast to the American folk songs I can think of that tend to be a lot slower with a lot less trumpet and a lot more guitar. But don't let the upbeat tempo confuse you, the actual theme or lyrics of the songs are usually pretty depressing. A lot of them are nostalgic for home or for family members who have died and/or remembering life as it used to be, with only relatively few songs devoted to love and a few about wine.
I chose a few songs to showcase mostly based on the fact that I like their music videos more so than the fact that they are good representatives of Moldovan folk music. Starting with a man by the name of Igor Cuciuc who happens to be one of my favorite Moldovan singers and his lyrics tend to be less depressing. The song is "Moldovanu Cît Traiește" or "The Moldovan How Much He Lives."
If you happen to watch TV in Moldova there is actually a channel where they only play Moldovan folk music videos all day. The videos are usually filmed in a very stereotypical Moldovan setting and the singer is usually wearing Moldovan traditional clothing. A lot of the time there is actually people in the background dancing along with the music or people playing instruments.
Luckily enough I actually found a video that has a collection of music videos put into one video so it will give you the impression that you are watching that music channel. However, all of the songs are sung by the same singer and I am pretty sure she is Romanian and not Moldovan but just pretend I didn't mention it and you won't know the difference.
One thing that I find the most interesting about Moldovan folk music is how some of it can become a fusion blend with pop music. There are quite a few songs that you might hear on the pop music station that you might also hear on the folk music station. This song is a good example. Even the music video blends together elements that are very common in traditional folk music videos, such as the countryside setting and traditional village life tasks...while also combining pop music video staples such as scantily clad women and suggestive cinematography. The song is "Eu Numai, Numai." or "Only, Only me" and the chorus of the song is him repeating "Only with you" ... "Without you I can't."
Lastly, I'm going to include another video by Igor Cuciuc who as I mentioned is probably my favorite but this time I'm going to include a video that transcends the normal folk music fare and has a very strong emotional message. It is called "Moldovenii Veniți Acasa" or "Moldovans Come Home." Some of the lyrics include, "Moldovans come home. We have a beautiful country," ... "Mama, Papa, siblings don't become strangers," ... "the children are growing up without a mother and they cry in their sleep."
In case you missed it I also posted a video not that long ago with a folk song about wine.
There is also a post I made quite a while back that talked about Moldovan pop music.