Damian Draghici: Romanian Gypsy Panflute Virtuoso

Forget about Zamfir or other stereotypes of what panflute music is all about. What we hear on Romanian Gypsy Panflute Virtuoso, the domestic debut by Damian Draghici (Lyrichord 7447; 44:48), is an ear-opener, a display boasting both an uncommon virtuosity and musical poetry. A multi-instrumentalist as a youth, Draghici devoted himself to the panflute and woodshedded with a mission in mind: to extend the parameters of the instrument, in its simpler, folkloric state. He went to Berklee and now lives in Southern California, and shows an elastic sense of stylistic approach to better showcase his instrument’s range. This recording is a cultural melange, produced by Randy Crafton, who also plays percussion, and the palette on the album also includes atmospheric guitar parts, oud and tanpura. It’s an exotic stew, but the sound that beguiles is Draghici’s panflute, navigated with precision-geared articulation and colored by nuances that suggest a parallel instrumental world.