Who? Lil Obeah is the moniker of Romanian music producer and journalist Andrei Bucureci. He joined forces with Ethiopian-English reggae, dub, and jazz band Dub Colossus and British electronic world-music band Transglobal Underground to create his debut album Lil Obeah from Transylvania.
What? The eight-track LP was originally inspired by a plethora of sources: reggae and dub, 70s and 80s Caribbean horror films, Romanian folk music, and 80s-era politics, music, and poetry.
What they say: “I wanted this album to feel like a dedication to Transylvania,” says Bucureci, who spent much of his 1980s with his aunt in Sibiu, a medieval city in the Carpathians. “It is a statement about the past, as well as the future: a longing for our past, while also rejoicing in the freedoms, the internet, the fashions we have today.”
Why you need to listen: Lil Obeah from Transylvania is a musically complex album that begins like a modern incantation thanks to the hypnotic arrangement of Bucureci’s restrained voice over a dub beat, animated by live percussion instruments. The cymbals, an instrument with roots in traditional Romanian music, add texture to the sound and play a symbolic role across the album. By the fourth track, “Chaos”, the LP gains a contemporary feel, with lyrics projecting our very modern existential angst (“Chaos is winning, almost without [us] sensing it”). The album abounds in references to Romanian culture: the tracks “Time” and “Children” employ 80s folk songs and poetry, while “Illusion” includes a sample of a truncated speech by communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, taking the listener on a sonic journey across the country’s recent history and culture.