RoA is a Romanian Folk artist currently residing in the US. The album Into The Fall makes for a fine introduction to acoustic and honestly crafted Romanian Folk music, as well as proving to be a pure and calming playlist that’s a pleasure to delve into regardless of genre.
Beginning with the Gypsy-swing and shuffle of Iarba Rea, the music on this project is guided by softly soulful, mildly raspy vocals, and simple yet thoughtful melodies that pave the way brilliantly towards the resolve of each hook. In this case, the verses suggest melancholy, mild sadness, and the hook rises up towards acceptance or even optimism. Meanwhile the space, the organic set-up, the simple strum of the guitar, the rhythm, and the soothing embrace of the strings connecting all of this, helps build something deeply soothing and emotive around you.
While there’s likely to be a language barrier for many listeners, the traditional nature of this music seems to overcome that issue with ease. As Fara Teama starts to play, a new mood but an ongoing familiarity emerge, embracing you again and offering the added touch of a pair of vocals to reinforce certain emotional peaks. The whole thing works like instrumental music would, the English or non-Romanian speaker will make up the details of the journey themselves, guided professionally and effectively by RoA and the mood and moments presented by the soundscape. The extra benefit is that deeply human vocal layer – the realness of this, the heart and the soul. It adds a new level of connection to an already likable and rhythmically entrancing arrangement of tracks.
As the album goes on, superbly crisp and engaging acoustic guitar rhythms unite consistently well with RoA’s expressive leading voice. This theme of contrasting optimism with sadness runs throughout, as does a fairly eclectic range vocally – certain moments hit with emotional impact and weight, certain others are whispered so delicately that they feel as if they’ve been recorded purely for you – Iarn makes for a fine example of the latter.
Vara Tarziu injects a welcomed touch of pace and energy as the latter half of the project approaches. Multiple layers fuse to see the song build and gather momentum throughout. An anthem-like piece that’s fairly addictive in melody, and very easy to revisit – a definite highlight and a personal favourite.
Prima Vara afterwards sees a slight change in performance style, a heartfelt outpouring of smoother, less rhythmic vocal work, and a meandering melody that proves unpredictable and surprisingly long-form as it progresses. The acoustic sound verges on appearing a little Ukulele-like here.
Towards the end, Invat Sa Iert introduces dashes of piano alongside a breathy and quickly calming performance that conjures up feelings of hope and peace. Being that the title translates to Learn To Forgive, these feelings seem beautifully relevant to the underlying sentiments – a further testament to the honest and genuine creativity of RoA. A joyful folk song that again is easily worthy of inclusion in the long-term playlist.
Ma Duce lights up the penultimate moments with a subtle bounce and a notable sense of togetherness – the sound once more beautifully on point considering the title term suggests he leads me. Then you get the mildly intense story-telling aura of Pasare to bring the album to a poignant and softly striking finish. Once again, the song gathers momentum throughout, starting off slowly and gradually rising up towards rhythm and fullness as the end approaches.
There’s no finer sound than a purely organic and honest acoustic recording, from a musician with a natural connection to the art he or she creates, and that’s precisely what’s on offer throughout this 8-track album from RoA. Into The Fall allows, for many, the mind to feel a soulful human presence purely through melody, musicality, and mysterious poetry. An easy one to let play, and decidedly unique right now – recognisable even with so few building blocks; another underlining of the impressive artist behind it all.