Subcarpați și Rusalka - IVAN (music)

Ivan Patzaichin, multiple Olympic, world and European champion in kayak-canoe, quadruple gold winner at the Olympic Games, was, is and will remain an unparalleled legend, offered, by Romania, as a gift to the entire humanity.

Originally from Mila 23, a small village of Lipovans in the Danube Delta, Ivan used his glory to give back to his community the support he enjoyed during his career as an athlete, coach and, later, as a social entrepreneur. He loved nature, sports, people and culture with all his heart. He wanted to promote the values of Lipovans and contribute to the local identity and to the growth of cultural tourism in the Delta.

At the beginning of 2021, we had the honour to be Ivan's guests, in his hometown, Mila 23. Here, we discovered a vibrant community that, in addition to the tradition of offering Romania the most Olympic champions in water sports, also holds a strong musical tradition. We met the women in the Rusalka choir, a group of Lipovans preoccupied with the preservation and capitalization of the traditional music of these lands.

The choir holds a repertoire of old songs, collected and documented by its members over the last decades. The songs carry the Lipovan culture, transmitted from generation to generation, and hide testimonies of this ethnic group’s way of living, in the last 200 years, on the Danube Delta territory. They are songs of mourning and longing, songs dedicated to seasons, love, parting, engagement, wedding, songs about traditional outfits of the Lipovans and fishing songs.

Together with Ivan and his team, Rowmania, we set out to bring the artistic performance of the Rusalka choir from Mila 23 up to present times and to highlight the important contribution this absolutely unique multi-ethnic mix can bring to the cultural development of the Danube Delta - a hospitable land, which allowed local communities to grow, to leave behind and preserve testimonies of their cultural history, transforming the Danube Delta into one of the most cosmopolitan and valuable green-blue territories of Romania.

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