Maria Tănase – The Authentic Diva from Bucharest


Born on 25th of September 1913, in Bucharest, Maria Tănase was the third child of Ana Munteanu and florist Ion Coandă Tănase, both coming from small villages to gain their living in Romanian capital. Raised in Cărămidarilor slum, Maria helped her family with the gardening chores.

Her father used to frequent different shows, theaters and vaudevilles, forms of entertainment increasingly enjoyed by Maria. In 1934, she started working at  “Cărăbuş” Theater and her first acting was in “Cărăbuş-Express”. This year also marks her singing debut with “Mansarda” (Nello Manzatti’s romance) at “Lifa Record”.

Starting 1936, she became famous in Bucharest due to her performances in several restaurants (mostly, original Lautars), and then all over the country (since 1938, when she could be heard live at radio, for the first time). Weekly, she was invited with her band to perform traditional songs at Radio Romania.

She never gave up to teather and continued to act and sing in several theater performances, musical comedies or movies. Maria lived passionately, recorded at Columbia Studios in Viena or in London, took part to famous New York World’s Fair (1939), smoked heavily, taught music at Middle School Music in Bucharest and was censored by legionnaire system. Married to attorney Clearch Raul Victor Pappadopulo-Sachelarie in 1950, she always regreted her impossibility of pregnancy resulting from a love affair and abortion at 16 years old. She died at 49 years old from lung cancer.

Nicolae Iorga, Romanian historian, called her “Pasărea măiastră” (Maiastra). Deep in love with Romanian folklore, she managed “to gather” and to reveal more than 400 folklore songs. There are memorable songs performed by this great Lady of Bucharest: “Cine iubeşte şi lasă” (Who loves and then leaves), “Mărie şi Mărioară” (Mary, Sweet Mary), “Mi-am pus busuioc în păr” (I put sweet basil in my hair) etc.

In present, “Maria Tănase” Folk Ensemble is promoting Romanian folklore in many shows from Romania and abroad. Situated in Craiova, 9 Crişului Street, Craiova county, this ensemble is carrying on Maria Tănase’s legacy.

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