Negru of Negură Bunget talks about Maryland Deathfest, first US tour

Among the most mysterious acts performing Friday night at the Maryland Deathfest is Romania’s pagan black metal collective Negură Bunget. I first heard of this band just two years ago on MySpace (yes, I still maintain a profile there), when they reached out to friend me, randomly of course, probably trying to increase their fan base. I thought, what in the world is this? Romanian folk black metal? One listen to their song, Dacia Hiperboreana, and I was hooked.

Negură Bunget plays music that resonates with something inside me that is primitive, pure, and eternal. Using traditional instruments such as panpipes and wooden blocks alongside modern guitars and keyboards, they create music that evokes a physical response in me,  a visceral yearning that is hard for me to describe with words. My ancestors come from Greece and Gaul, so perhaps, Negură Bunget is speaking to some kind of ancestral understanding that lives in my genes.

I would encourage anyone interested in the origins of Negură Bunget or the meaning behind their songs to read the “About” section on their Facebook page closely. Superficially, the band formed in the mid 1990s in Timișoara, Romania. The group focuses its music heavily on the myths, traditions, natural and spiritual realms of their region of the world. Instrumentation creates a rich, dark, ambient atmosphere, punctuated by some traditional black metal riffs, vocals and drumming.

Since encountering Negură Bunget, I have have the honor to have had occasional email contact with their percussionist Negru. The group’s appearance at MDF X was one of the first North American dates they put on their calendar for 2012, and they worked to build an entire US and Canadian tour around it. This tour, called Transylvanian Legacy, marks the 15th year of the bands existence. Negru was kind enough to reply to some of my questions via email following performances in the European version of Paganfest.

What band members are touring with you now and who is playing what?
The line-up for the US tour is: Chakravartin – vocals,Negru – drums / percussions, Inia Dinia – keyboards / horns, Gadinet – bass / panpipe, Urzit – guitars, Oq – guitars.Only Oq is a bit new into this. Although he has been one of our live and studio engineers since 2005, it’s the first time he plays live with us, covering the place of our member Fulmineos, who can’t do the US tour for personal reasons.

Is this the first time you have played in North America or the US? What do you hope to achieve with the Transylvanian Legacy tour?

Yes, this will be the first time we play in the US. The whole point of the Transilvanian Legacy tour is to expand out presence to such places we haven’t been played before. Doing more than 30 dates in US and Canada in amazing opportunity Asia and Australia is our next goal after US.

What will your set list of Maryland Deathfest look like? What albums will be featured prominently?

We’ll focus a bit more on the recent albums of the band, like Virstele pamintului, OM and ‘N crugu bradului, but we’ll also perform the very first track from the very first Negură Bunget album, just as a symbolic gesture.

How did you connect with the other bands on your tour: Wolven Ancestry, Eclipse Eternal, and The Way of Purity?

We’ve planned the whole tour along Wolven Ancestry, who although we haven’t meet yet, seem already like old friends. They connected us also with Eclipse Eternal, who are on the label or WA singer Mark. We toured a lot with The Way of Purity, but unfortunately they just announced they can’t make it to the US.

Will you have any special or unique items for sale at MDF?

Unfortunately we can’t bring some of the exotic releases we did, either because most are sold out for years, or for logistical nightmares. But we’ll do our best to have as many items as possible.

Is there anything you would like people to know or understand about your group and the music you perform?

I think that actually the live experience is the best way people will get a deeper idea about who we are and what we do musically. It’s hard, and most of the time pointless, to describe into words a musical experience which is a individual experience. All I can say is we’ll put on stage all we have within ourselves.

This was the very first song I ever heard from Negură Bunget….

Wordless Knowledge demonstrates both Negură Bunget’s pagan roots and black metal aesthetic..

(This article is No. 44 in a multipart series on all the bands performing at the Maryland Deathfest.)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: