Gheorghe Zamfir (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡe̯orɡe zamˈfir] (About this sound listen); born April 6, 1941) is a Romanian pan flute musician.
Zamfir is known for playing an expanded version of the traditional Romanian-style pan flute (nai) of 20 pipes to 22, 25, 28 and 30 pipes to increase its range, and obtaining as many as eight overtones (additionally to the fundamental tone) from each pipe by changing the embouchure.
He is known as “The Master of the Pan Flute”.
Zamfir came to the public eye when he was approached by Swiss ethnomusicologist Marcel Cellier, who extensively researched Romanian folk music in the 1960s. The composer Vladimir Cosma brought Zamfir with his pan flute to Western European countries for the first time in 1972 as the soloist in Cosma’s original music for the movie Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire. This was very successful, and since then, he has been used as soloist in movie soundtracks by composers Francis Lai, Ennio Morricone and many others. Largely through television commercials where he was billed as “Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute”, he introduced the folk instrument to a modern audience and revived it from obscurity.
In 1966, Zamfir was appointed conductor of the “Ciocîrlia Orchestra”, one of the most prestigious state ensembles of Romania, destined for concert tours abroad. This created the opportunity for composition and arranging. In 1969, he left Ciocîrlia and started his own taraf (small band) and in 1970 he had his first longer term contract in Paris.
Zamfir discovered the much greater freedom for artistic adventure. His taraf consisted of: Ion Drăgoi (violin), Ion Lăceanu (flutes), Dumitru Fărcaș (tarogato), Petre Vidrean (double bass) and Tony Iordache (cymbalum) all number 1 soloists in their country. This taraf made some excellent recordings (CD Zamfir a Paris). He changed the composition of the band soon after: Efta Botoca (violin), Marin Chisar (flutes), Dorin Ciobaru and Pavel Cebzan (clarinet and tarogato), Petre Vidrean (bass) and Pantelimon Stînga (cymbalum). It is said that this change was made to increase the command of Zamfir and have more artistic freedom. A turning point was the recording of Zamfir’s composition “Messe pour la Paix” (Philips). His taraf joined a choir and a symphonic orchestra. This was evidence of the growing ambition. While the Philips recordings of that time were rather conservative, Zamfir preached revolution in the concert halls with daring performances. Some[who?] say that this short period was the highlight of his career. In 1977, he recorded “The Lonely Shepherd” with James Last. Zamfir put himself on the world map and since then his career became highly varied, hovering over classical repertoire, easy listening and pop music.
Zamfir’s big break in the English-speaking world came when the BBC religious television programme “The Light of Experience” adopted his recording of “Doina De Jale”, a traditional Romanian funeral song, as its theme. Popular demand forced Epic Records to release the tune as a single in 1976, and it climbed to number four on the UK charts. It would prove to be his only UK hit single, but it helped pave the way for a consistent stream of album sales in Britain. His song “Summer Love” reached number 9 in South Africa in November 1976. In 1983, he scored a No. 3 hit on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart with “Blue Navajo,” and several of his albums (including 1982’s Romance and 1983’s Childhood Dreams) have charted in Canada as well.
After nearly a decade-long absence, Zamfir returned to Canada in January 2006 for a seven-city tour with the Traffic Strings quintet. The program included a world premiere of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for PanFlute and string quintet arranged by Lucian Moraru, jazz standards, and well-known favourites.
In 2009, Zamfir was sampled by Animal Collective in the song “Graze” on their EP Fall Be Kind.
In 2012, Zamfir performed at the opening ceremony of the 11th Conference of Parties to the Ramsar Convention at the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania (by wikipedia)
And this is his first album … recorded as a totally unknown young musician And we hear this beautiful, unadulterated Sound of the pan flute …
Enjoy this Music, too
Gheorghe Zamfire (pan flute)
Orchestra Florian Economu
01. Doină De Jale 5.17
02. Frunzuliţă Lemn Adus 1.33
03. Cîntec De Nuntă 2.47
04. Păscui Calul Pe Răzoare 1.33
05. Doină De La Vişina 5.15
06. Mîndra Mea Din Băduleşti 2.46
07. Mîndrele 1.49
08. Sîrba Bătrînească 2.62