This year’s Romanian Week has brought some impressive locals to AISB–from a revolutionary architect and inspirational artisans, to the woman who illegally dubbed over 3,000 movies during communism. And on Friday, Damian Draghici, a famous Roma musician and representative in the EU Parliament, is speaking in the theater.

The Bite caught up with Draghici to get some more information before seeing him speak tomorrow. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: We read that you’re a former musician, pretty famous for playing the “nai” instrument. Can you tell us about your experience?

A: Yes, indeed I used to be a professional musician, mostly a pan flute player, composer and music producer. It was an amazing experience, a learning experience. In music, like in everything, you never stop learning and there is a lot to learn. Some of the most important ingredients in order to achieve your full potential is through a lot of work and not giving up on your dream! That’s my conclusion after all these years in music.

Q: Can you tell us about your cultural Romani heritage and how this has shaped what you do professionally? 

A: Yes, I am a Roma “gypsy,” the street language, and in my family, music was the only choice. I have no idea what I would have done, or what I would have loved to do other than music–there were not mutiple choices; I was pushed into doing music against my will. I am highlighting this matter because I believe that it is very important for the young ones to choose for themselves what they love to do and to be!

Q: What is it like being an advisor on Roma issues to the Prime Minister?

A:  A completely different prospective from my previous experience in the music field. I went into politics for my people– for the Roma people to serve!

Draghici voting in the plenary session of the EP in Strasbourg. Image source: EP.

Q: We read that 2011 was your last public musical performance. Is this true? And, if so, why did you decide to withdraw from the music scene?

A: It is true; that was my last concert as a pan flute player. I had been wondering before that for many years if music was what I was supposed to do. I always asked myself this question and yes, I left the music scene as a pan flute player because I didn’t choose the pan flute or music, it was given to me, pushed into me by may family or community! 

Q: What can we expect from your presentation on Friday?

A: Truth, faith, courage, and love!