The Network Media Cooperative (Network Medien-Cooperative) was founded in October 1979 – by April 1990 we had already issued 19 titles, at the time as audio-cassettes with a comprehensive booklet in a small package that looked like a chocolate box. The covers and layouts were produced using Letraset on a light-table installed over a bath tub. Among those first records were the musical themes that were to preoccupy us for 30 years: an extensive document of the “Gypsies Music Festival”; meanwhile the music of the Roma has been documented on numerous Network CDs, including the anthology “Road of the Gypsies” (often copied but never achieving the same level). A double musíccasette packet was devoted to cult music from Haiti and the sounds and life philosophy of the Rastafarians in Jamaica. Recording trips were undertaken, among others, to Cuba, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Curacao, but also to Latin America, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Belize. We also approached the music worlds of Africa in our portrait of the South African pianist and vocalist Dollar Brand (today Abdullah Ibrahim) and in the first studio recordings of Soukous music. These were followed by trips to Liberia, Senegal, Mali, Tanzania, Zanzibar.
Based on a theatrical text by Romanian writer Ion Luca Caragiale (1852-1912), who was a bitter and funny witness of the turn-of-the-20th-century Romanian bourgeois mores, Carnival Scenes manages to preserve and further enhance the slightly hysteric atmosphere of his plays. Pintilie creates a strange combination of carnival scenes which is brought to the screen as a burlesque, fast-paced, screwball comedy with a meditative undertone. This film was banned in Romania for a decade until the death of Ceausescu in 1989 and was only released after the 1989 revolution.
Born in the countryside and working in a port town on the coast of the Black Sea, Romanian wedding violinist Ion Petre Stoican wanted to break into the Bucharest market, which was dominated by a coterie of influential lautari families. He'd tried working there once before but it was hard to build a reputation for yourself when you were just another musician in from the provinces. Luck came unexpectedly when he noticed a man behaving in a suspicious way and handed him over to the police. The man turned out to be a foreign spy. By way of a reward, Stoican was given the chance to record an album with the state-operated label, Electrecord. "The most important Gypsy musicians from the Bucharest Lautari scene" (to quote the CD case) became his backing band, and the album had the effect that he must have hoped for: he made his reputation in Bucharest and played there until the end of the '80s. He died not long after the fall of Ceauşescu in 1989.