I don’t know when music came in my life, but I have a memory since I was 3-4 years old and I saw for the first time a video with Queen. And there he was, Freddie Mercury, dressed in his harlequin costume. He was my first crush and many times I’ve had in mind his image, he was like a ray of light in the house; the sweet sound of his songs brought so many joy in my life since then.
Being the youngest of 5 I had the luck to have in my bedroom whatever my sisters used to listen as they were growing up and music started to be easier (or not) to get in a Communist country. I had it all, starting from the walkman with tapes until the first mp3 player I bought in my second year of university. The pile with tapes it is still there, in my parents house, and most of them were unofficial recorded, bought on the black market – especially before ’89 when everything from outside the country was banned. But even so, thankfully to my sisters, I had the opportunity to listen so many bands which weren’t existing for half of the country.
One of my oldest memory is related with Lambada. I was 3 years old, at kindergarten, when we had to learn this dance for the end of the year. The red and large-tiny skirt, myself with long hair, dancing around the living room table, hearing the nice melody from the pickup. I grew up listening stories at this wooden player – which started to be funky nowadays. From the story tales of Brothers Grimm to disco music (Modern Talking, CC Catch) to traditional Romanian music. They’ve created the surroundings of a magical territory in my mind.
As time passed the new technology started to come also in my small town, in the North of Romania. Soon the shelf of one of our bookcase was overtaken by cassettes. Madonna, Bon Jovi, A-HA, ABBA and so many others. First I had a small player, which we used to fool around with by recording ourselves. Sitting there, in the blue room, listening to music was one of my favorites activities. I’ve started to do everything with music – homework, reading, sleeping. It was creating such a beautiful world I couldn’t leave behind.
When one of my sisters brought a walkman home I was totally lost. I used to stay on the balcony with the headphones and couldn’t care less about the fact that my mother used to complain always about me wasting my time. With the headphones I was even more in my world, so much that I carried the walkman to Bucharest, 10 years ago, when mp3 players were already invented – but without money it was impossible to have. I used to listen Bon Jovi everywhere, the same cassette, the same album, the old romance music, the entry level in rock ballads.
I was around 12-14 when I first saw a CD player. One of my sisters received a portable one as a gift and in her school holidays I used to be the owner. She had cd with Pink Floyd, Joe Cocker, Goran Bregovic and so many more. Shortly after the boom produced in our hometown: a PC at home, friends which knew how to download music from the internet, mp3 CD with 500 melodies – it was like a Big Bang in my music world. At the age of 15 I’ve discovered rock and for many years I was listening mostly black metal. And by years the music taste changed, getting to know about folk, “normal” rock, Leonard Cohen, Morcheeba.
In Bergamo, at a pedestrian stop, a woman was dancing next to us. She was so happy, having the music in her ears. Music is one of the best freedoms one can have. And without freedom, we are lost. For sure this would have been the case for me. Since I mentioned freedom, below video will explain a lot about it: it is from Metallica’s concert in Moscow in 1991. Think about Russia, look at the people and imagine the freedom they have felt then (minute 1:18, soldier dancing). Amazing, right?