Marian Serban FotoBIO

Marian Serban

Màrian Serban's curriculum should read like this: "Listen to him play his cymbalom just for a few minutes and you won't need a curriculum. Listen to his incomparable style, the vastity and depth of timbres he draws from his magical instrument, lose yourself in the colors he paints with each register, let yourself be transported by the whirlwind of his virtuosity and you won't need to know anything else, but you'll want to hear him again and again." Still, if you haven't yet heard him, here is a little information about the maestro and his instrument. The cymbalom is an instrument from Transylvania, a descendant of the psalter, probably it evolved from the Persian santur. It is a stringed instrument – currently it is used with piano strings - which are beaten with two mallets of various types, plain wood or wood wrapped in cotton felt. Some say its sound is somewhere between that of a piano and a guitar, but I find its sound is incomparable. Màrian Serban, a great master of this instrument, also knows how to build them. He was born in Bucarest, in Romania in 1970, into a family of Romany musicians. His maternal grandfather and his uncle on his father's side, were both virtuosi of the cymbalom. Màrian learned how to play at a very young, and by the time he was seven he was already performing with his older brother, Nicola. The two would rival in virtuosity and talent. At the age of fourteen he is already a soloist, and begins playing at weddings, a very competitive arena for those who play Romany music and traditional music in general.

In 1988 he joins the pretigious musical ensemble of Bucarest "Rapsodia Romana", and from that moment begins collaborating with some of the best groups in the country, especially with Turnu Severin's celebrated ensemble "Danubiu".

In 1994, after the downfall of the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu and the disgrgation of many cultural activities which followed it, he leaves Rumania for italy where still resides permanently. Màrian Serban's exceptional musical qualities make him sought after by groups and composers, he is involved in countless prestigious projects. With a group of his Rumanian Romany companions he is involved in the creation of the pyrotechnical "Taraf da Metropulitana". He joins the group "Aquaragia Drom" and collaborates with Santino Spinelli's "Alexian Group", with Daniele Sepe, Taraf Destrani and Roy Paci. In 2000, he is called to participate in American singer Elvis Costello's Italian tour by the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. In 2001, he partecipates in the recording of many film soundtracks, such as "A me piace lavorare" by Francesca Comencini. In 2002, Italian pop-star Samuele Bersani engages him for his album "Caramella Smog", and in the same year he is seen on television with Taraf da Metropulitana in a program hosted by Claudio Bisio and Serena Dandini on Italia 1, and the great Ennio Morricone requires his services for his soundtrack in the film "La brace". In 2003, he performs with the mythical "Orchestra di piazza Vittorio" both in concerts and in the film by Agostino Ferrente which sees the Orchestra as colective protagonist. In that same year, he plays on Fabrizio Bentivoglio's CD, "Tipota". In 2004, he begins collaborating with the intense singer of the Jewish repertoire, Miriam Meghnagi, and with the singer Cristina Barzi, Gypsiliana. In 2005, he becomes a stable and fundamental member of the Moni Ovadia Stage Orchestra. Under the direction of Moni Ovadia he is in the following shows: "L'armata a cavallo" from Itzkhak Babel, written and directed by Moni Ovadia, "La bottiglia vuota" by and with Moni Ovadia, "Le Storie del Signor Keuner" from Bertolt Brecht, directed by Roberto Andò and Moni Ovadia. Màrian Serban is also proud to be part of the important project by the Orchestra di Barletta , the "Enciclopedia delle musiche rom nei lager nazisti". Currently, he is performing in Moni Ovadia's "Oltre i Confini".

(by Moni Ovadia)
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