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March 21, 2023

‘The Rocky Road to the Merry Cemetery’ Festival, dedicated to Grigore Lese

The second edition of the “Drumul Lung spre Cimitirul Vesel” (The Rocky Road to the Merry Cemetery) invites us, this year, “On the Road with Lese”. Those who visit Maramures, celebrated musician and musicologist Grigore Lese’s birthplace, between August 14 and 20, will have a chance to get acquainted with the genuine traditions of the Maramures village. Grigore Lese will be the host of the festival and our guide on this journey. The name of the festival, laden with meanings, evokes one of the places Maramures is best-known for in Europe, the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta.

Thus, Grigore Lese invites us to join him as he retraces his life-journey, starting with a pilgrimage to the wooden churches in Maramures and a visit to local folk artisans. The festival line-up includes Romanian and foreign musicians – from Ireland, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Iran. The local “pub” music will be represented by Mambo Siria. On the last night of the festival, artists will convene on a fairy-tale meadow for a collective concert, coordinated by Lese.

The idea for this festival originated with Irishman Peter Hurley, who considers himself a Romanian after 17 years of living in Romania. During the first edition, organized last year, the guest of honour was Shaun Davey, one of the greatest contemporary Irish composers, presenting a musical suite inspired by the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, performed by some of Ireland’s finest musicians.

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