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Under the shade of an apple tree with coffee, house wine and cakes laid out on the table, Nica starts to pluck his 80-year-old wooden cobza with a goose quill. At 73, he is one of the last traditional players of the "Romanian oud". Romanian music lovers are working to save this integral part of the country's cultural heritage."In the 19th century, it was unthinkable in certain parts of Romania to have a wedding, a christening or a party without a cobza," says Florin Iordan, a Romanian ethnomusicologist at the National Peasant Museum.Small bands of "lautari" – professional musicians or troubadours – would come to play and sing, and they usually had a violin, a flute and a cobza. Ilie, his accompanying violinist, whose family has been playing music for generations, is convinced that the cobza and its music are not fading away.As a first step to save the instrument, Speranta Radulescu and Florin Iordan have crisscrossed Romania to record the last cobza players still alive.
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