Phoenix Band

Also known by the name Transsylvania-Phoenix, the Romanian rock band was created in 1962 at Timisoara. It is one of the most important Romanian bands of the 20th century. Nicu Covaci, Mircea Baniciu, Ovidiu Lipan Tandarica, Nani Neumann and Josef Kappl started singing beat music, then evolved to psychedelic rock and then to hard rock. They have also experienced some progressive rock.

Phoenix is one of the first rock bands in Romania. It was inspired by the British band “The Shadows”. The initial name of the band was “Sfintii” (The Saints), but it had to be changed to Phoenix because of the communism’s aversion towards religion.

In the 1970’s due to political changes in Romania many bands disappeared, but Phoenix wasn’t one of them. Instead they changed their musical style into an unexpected one. That is how a new gender was born – the ethno-rock, inspired from authentic Romanian folklore. The first rock songs inspired from the Romanian folklore were: “Bun ii vinul ghirghiuliu” and “Padure, Padure”, both fiddler songs at their origins.

The Album Cover

In 1972 Phoenix releases a disc named “Muguri de fluier” (Whistle buds), a title with a special metaphorical meaning. In the same year, the band members start writing the rock opera “Cantafabule” inspired by the mythological meaning of the animals in fables and legends. Phoenix recorded “Cantafabule” a year later. It was the most complex and evolved of their works. In 1972 takes place the huge concert from Sarmisegetuza Dacia. After this the band is forbidden by the political regime. As a reaction to the hard questioning to which he was subjected, Nicu Covaci gives up to Romanian citizenship and leaves to Netherlands.

In the night of 1st of June 1977 the truck with the band members hidden in the speakers and the audio system leaves Romania illegaly. Nicu manages to smuggle his colleagues to Yugoslavia with Germany as the final destination. After arrival in Germany the Phoenix breaks up and each of its members starts a new project.

After 13 years of absence and after many attempts to revive Phoenix in Germany, Nicu Covaci returns to Romania and together with Mircea Baniciu holds a concert. After that, during the 1990’s Phoenix albums are re-edited. The last one was “In Umbra Marelui URSS” (In The Shadow of URSS), a reference to the communist times in Romania and the former URSS influence.

Nicu Covaci (right) and Mircea Baniciu (left) in a live show