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Romanian Kickstarter campaign!

By Mihai Iliescu

Created 1 | Supported 0

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Social Reach


Ended 06/03/2015

"Paula needs to go home, in Transylvania, to record her first album in the village where she was born."

— Mihai Iliescu and
other supporters

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Paula is the daughter of the priest from a small Transylvanian village.

As a child, she used to sing traditional music like no other. Until one day, when she left the village and became an opera singer.

Since then, she struggled as an immigrant in the countries where she lived. But deep inside she's still the little girl from Transylvania. Her true voice comes from her roots.

That's what she feels and sings with our band Zmeitrei. And now the first album is ready!


Now it's time for Paula to go home, to Transylvania, in the village where her voice was born.

Paula's village in Transylvania
Paula's village in Transylvania

With your help, she will record this album in the same places that have a special meaning for her story.

It's our unique chance to record this album with the Grammy-awarded producer Ian Brennan, who is specialized in world-class field recordings.

A unique chance to open her voice and our music to the world!


Ian Brennan is a GRAMMY-winning producer with three GRAMMY-nominated records (Best World Music- 2011, Best Traditional Folk-2006 and 2007). Amongst other projects, he traveled to southeast Algeria to record with Touareg rock legends, Tinariwen, for their 2011 release "Tassili" on the Anti- label. He has also produced Rain Machine, the solo debut of Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio). In the studio, he has worked with the likes of Flea, Lucinda Williams, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Nels Cline (Wilco), DJ Bonebrake and John Doe (X, the Knitters), Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Bill Frisell, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson, and more.


The songs of the album tell true stories about the people and the places that we left behind. That's why they must be recorded there, where it all happened. Here's one:

RICĂ DIN OBOR  was the Romeo in the ghetto. He had eyes of almond and he knew he was loved by girls and wives. He wore earring and a dark stone on his finger. Then, one evening of spring, he met a knife.


Paula Turcas is the haunting voice of our band Zmeitrei. Daughter of a priest from Transylvania, born in a village not far away from where the Dracula myth was born, she left our country to embark on a long journey of evolution and self-discovery. After touring in Europe as an opera singer, she's now going back home, to Transylvania, to record her first album with Zmeitrei.

Mihai Victor Iliescu (that's me), former lawyer, former creative director. Six years ago I quit the corporate job to follow my dream and become a musician. I'm the guitarist of the band Zmeitrei and I also write the lyrics. Most of the stories in the songs are true, because I lived them.

Oli Bott  is transforming his vibes almost into a hard rock instrument. He studied at Berklee with Gary Burton. After performing once with us in Romania he felt so inspired, that he started composing the music for Zmeitrei.

Arnulf Ballhorn plays bass in a percussive style that you can feel right in your stomach. He learned double bass at the University of Arts in Berlin, and he's very much into contemporary music, tango and jazz.

Special Guests: Nelu and Adam are two old harmonica masters who live in Romania. Two forgotten geniuses, playing since more than 50 years, with a range from extreme virtuosity to extreme sensitivity. Now we want them to play with us, so that you can rediscover all their mastery.


First - this complex project reunites the effort of many talented people, and involves a huge amount of creative and financial elements that must come into place. Paula can't make it alone, but she can make it with your help. 

Second - our country and our music are virtually unknown to the world. We see this as a tremendous opportunity to share our culture with the people who care - that's you, kickstarters - and let you decide if you want to join our journey home.


If we meet our goal, the bulk of the money will go to produce this album at the highest world-class standard.

  • At the end of August 2015, the Grammy-awarded production team will travel from California to Europe, then to Transylvania, with loads of field recording equipment. They will remain there for two weeks, and travel to several places that have a special relevance for the music. For this to come true, we need a budget of €10,000.
  • At the same time, Paula and the band, located in Berlin, Germany, will join the producers in Transylvania. We will need to transport our instruments (3 guitars, double bass, electric bass, vibraphone, amps, percussion). The costs are €7,000 - but we will try hard to find money to pay this alone.
  • Then, when the recording is finished, the producer will travel to France, to mix the album at the same studio who did the amazing job for Tinariwen - €3,300.
  • Then the album will travel back to California for the final magic touch of mastering - €800.
  •  The rest will go towards manufacturing the CDs (€2,500+), shipping (free for you!) from Berlin to the US and worldwide, €3,000+) Kickstarter fees (€2,000).

Wow. It's already more than €22,000 needed right there. But I spoke to Paula, and she said: "Is it all or nothing?" "Yes, it is all or nothing" "Then let's do it, all or nothing". 

And if we go beyond that goal, we dream to make an European tour so we could play our music for you. And maybe even a tour in the US !


Why am I doing this? Why do I want so much to bring Paula's story to life? Because it's my story too. This album is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with a Grammy winning producer and to express our Romanian Soul, making more people across the world fall in love with our beautiful, forgotten country.

 “It is imperative that voices from lesser recognized regions be heard. Our very health as a civilization depends on it. There could be no better ambassadors to the world for Romania, than Zmeitrei.” (Ian Brennan, Grammy-winning producer) 

The ones of you who will join will climb mountains with us, will sing at campfire with us, will see the stars with us. They will become part of our soul - and of our music. Join us on our road home, and you'll take a trip to your deepest emotions.

Thank you very much. See you in Transylvania!

Paula's dad will be there too. He was the priest of the village for 36 years. He will protect us against vampires :)
Paula's dad will be there too. He was the priest of the village for 36 years. He will protect us against vampires :)

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Created on 2015-05-21 12:59:59