The album includes songs written on lyrics by Romanian classical and contemporary poets
The most recent album by the band FiRMA, SELECTED POEMS, VOL. I, was brought out in late 2018 by the Casa Radio Publishers. The album includes nine songs composed by the band’s vocalist, Daniel Rocca Stoicea, on lyrics by Romanian classical and contemporary poets. SELECTED POEMS, VOL I is also one of the rare encounter points where rock music mixes with poetry, as poetry is sung by the band but also recited, thanks to rare recordings stored or made in Radio Romania’s Sound Archives, by the authors themselves, including George Bacovia, Leonid Dimov, Nina Cassian, Ana Blandiana, Svetlana Cârstean, Adela Greceanu and Elena Vlădăreanu. It was Cristian Marica who had the idea of the album, and who also wrote the foreword for the album, “FiRMA has the ability of to continuously experiment, until the best musical ideas are found. The Selected Poems album includes nine songs on the lyrics of classical and contemporary poets, aimed at giving a signal for the return of music and musicians to Romanian poetry”.
Cristian Marica: “I had the idea of this album 5 years ago and then I realised the only artists who could bring Romanian poetry to the fore are artists from the underground/alternative zone. However, at the time there was still a very powerful trend that encouraged artists to sing only in English, so when I insisted that this type of music can be done in Romanian I was often met with irony. On the other hand, FiRMA is one of the very few lyrical-dramatic bands that make a kind of music I think is very suitable for the Romanian language. Dulce Romanie (My Sweet Romania), the bonus track on the CD titled Incantations, launched on December 1st, 2017 fully convinced me of that. I listened to the cut, then I spoke to the band members and we started working on the album. So in 2018 we got together, we did a bit of brainstorming and started working.”
Many of FiRMA’s hits are in English, they were played in heavy rotation on radio and TV stations, and the video for Baby is crying has been included on the playlist of the very popular VH1 Europe music channel. Also, FiRMA was the first Romanian band to have been invited to perform at the MTV European Music Awards Gala in Munich in 2007. It was the first Romanian band to be nominated in the "New Sounds of Europe" category, after in 2004 FiRMA had been nominated for "Best Romanian Act” at the MTV European Music Awards, and for "Best Rock Band” at the MTV Romanian Music Awards a year later. FiRMA have made their last 3 albums in Romanian.
Daniel Rocca Stoicea: “I like Romanian. I love the language and I find it very generous. And I believe these Romanian words encompass more meanings than English words, for instance. Romanian is a beautiful language which helps you express what you feel. We did indeed sing in English, about a decade ago, but what we had in mind at that time was an album to sell abroad. There are a lot of talented artists that seek to get into the international market, so it is only natural for them to perform in English, but to my mind in Romania one should ideally use the Romanian language. It makes it a lot easier to reach the people here.”
On January 15th, the National Culture Day, the band FiRMA gave a concert at ARCUB Gabroveni. They played singles and pieces from their latest album, “Selected Poems vol. 1,” released by Casa Radio Publishers, and invited the poets Adela Greceanu, Elena Vladareanu and Svetlana Carstean on stage, to read out the lyrics that inspired the album. Writers Adela Greceanu and Elena Vladareanu spoke about the importance of this fortunate combination of poetry and music.
Adela Greceanu: “I believe that with this album, the band FiRMA managed to prove that there are contemporary poets in this country, as well as poets who wrote decades ago, who are wonderful people, worth being discovered. I’ve seen the response of those who listened to the album Selected Poems, and I’ve read comments on youtube. Some of the listeners were delighted to discover Leonid Dimov, for example. And the fact that people discovered or rediscovered poetry by means of this album is, in my opinion, extraordinary.”
Elena Vladareanu: “This is my first experience of this kind, my first time on stage in a rock concert, like a rock star. I am thrilled. Some may say that I am thrilled because I am subjective, given my involvement in the project. But even if I hadn’t been involved, I would have been as delighted about it, because events like this happen very rarely in Romania, and this is something I’ve been saying for at least 15 years, since my debut as a writer and journalist. Such art intersections like the one accomplished by FiRMA today are very rare, these areas seldom come together, writers mind their own business, musicians do their thing, visual artists have their separate ways. And the fact that this project managed to bring together rock music, more specifically the work of a very popular band, FiRMA, and classical and contemporary poetry, Romanian poetry, is precisely why I am so enthusiastic.”