Sergiu Popa Ensemble

Sergiu Popa Ensemble

 MontrĂ©al, Quebec, CAN

Authentic Gypsy and folk music from across Eastern Europe, with contemporary arrangements (jazz, latin and middle-eastern influences). The mastermind: 27-year-old Sergiu Popa, virtuoso accordionist. He is ready to go where no accordion has gone before.


(le francais suivra)
Sergiu Popa arrived in Canada in 2002 at the age of 22 with 60$, an antique accordion only a master could play and still sound great, and a leaky bottle of cognac. He came from the poorest and tiniest country in Eastern Europe: Moldova, and he came here with a dream to make it in music. He is the youngest of a Gypsy dynasty of musicians, and has studied the accordion (both formally and informally) since the age of 3. In 2003, Sergiu married Canadian-Hungarian violinist Jessica Gal. Classically trained, she had been specializing in Celtic music for several years but was in search of her own musical roots. Sergiu taught her the intricacies of East European music, and gradually they begin performing together full time. Still the core members of the band, Sergiu and Jessica have invited musicians Patrick Graham, a master percussionist with a wide variety of world music experience, and Samito Matsinhe on piano / keyboard and guitar to join them. Guests include talented female vocalist Geta Daraban, and Cornel Ionescu, a male vocalist and guitarist extraordinaire who sings in a in 'Gypsy Kings' style voice and is a master of Romanian Gypsy repertoire.

The Sergiu Popa Ensemble's sound could be described as 'Gypsy fusion' - mostly traditional music from Eastern Europe, infused with Sergiu's wild improvisations, contemporary arrangements and influences from jazz. latin, oriental and other traditions.

The band was discovered in 2006 by Musique Multi-Montreal (MMM), a reputable world music agency. At the 2007 edition of the MMM Music and People Festival, Sergiu was selected to create one of the evening shows of the festival (BIJANDO), and was subsequently awarded the Radio-Canada Prix Etoile Galaxie in recognition of the excellence of his performance. In February of 2008, Sergiu and his ensemble perfomed an official showcase at the RIDEAU music conference in Quebec City, and soon after were selected as the first recipients of the 'Circuit 514' award, an 18-month partnership with CBC Radio, La Place des Arts, Le Conseil des Arts de Montreal, Montreal Arts Interculturelles (MAI) and Vision Diversite. The project was launched in August, 2008.

In June, 2006, Sergiu released his first independently-produced CD, entitled 'Obsession Accordeon', which has been praised by critics including Yves Bernard (Le Devoir) and Renato Belardinelli (Accordions Worldwide), and plans to release a second in 2012. Sergiu also collaborates with a wide variety of international and Montreal-based musicians, such as Theodosii Spassov, master of the bulgarian kaval; Anatol Stefanet, founder of moldavian folk phenomenon Trigon; Vadim Kolpakov, Russian Gypsy 7-string guitarist; Jeri Brown, jazz singer; Ismail Fencioglu, Turkish singer and master of the oud and SoCalled, Yiddish hip-hop sensation. All have expressed their admiration and respect for his amazing adaptability, openness, his gift for innovative accompaniment and instinct for tasteful fusion of musical styles. Another quality they never fail to notice, along with his growing number of fans, is his natural warmth, humour and charm. Sergiu Popa is a future superstar of the world music scene.

Sergiu Popa est arrive au Canada en 2002, age de 22 ans, avec 60$, un vieil accordeon qui ne pourrait sonner formidable qu'entre les mains d'un maitre, ainsi qu'une bouteille de cognac moldave qui coulait. Il venait du pays le plus petit et le plus pauvre en Europe de l'est, la Moldavie, avec un reve de pouvoir demarrer une carriere internationale en musique. Il represente la plus jeune generation d'une dynastie musicale Rom (tzigane), et il a etudie l'accordeon de maniere intensive depuis l'age de 3 ans. En 2003, il s'est marie avec la violoniste canadienne-hongroise Jessica Gal. Ayant suivi une formation classique au conservatiore, elle s'etait specialisee en musique Celtique depuis plusieurs annees et desirait explorer sa propre musique traditionelle. Il l'aida a se familiariser avec les styles musicaux de l'Europe de l'est, et graduellement le couple s'embarque dans un partenariat musical a temps plein. Toujours au coeur de leur ensemble, ils ont depuis invite le pianiste/guitariste africain Samito Matsinhe, ainsi que le percussioniste Patrick Graham (qui a un vocabulaire etonnant en musiques du monde) de se joindre a eux. Parmi leurs invites speciaux, la chanteuse talentueuse Geta Daraban ainsi que M. Cornel (Gutui) Ionescu, un vocaliste et guitariste qui chante a la maniere des Gypsy Kings et maitrise le style Tzigane de la Roumanie.

Si on devait decrire la musique de l'Ensemble, on pourrait l'appeler 'fusion tzigane' - surtout des pieces traditionnelles de l'Europe de l'est, infusees des improvisations dechainees de Sergiu Popa, de ses arrangements contemporaines ainsi que des saveurs du jazz, musique latine, orientale et autre.

Decouverts par l'agence Musique Multi-Montreal (MMM) en 2006, l'Ensemble Sergiu Popa a ete selectionne pour creer une soiree


Obsession Accordeon, 2006. (sold online at, who also manage digital distribution of all tracks).

Set List

Songs include traditional Gypsy favourites in Russian, Romanian and Romani language; they are great for dancing. Instrumentals are often without titles if traditional; we create sets which feature different rhythms and tonalities to keep audiences stimulated. We also find opportunities to educate the audience about East European culture through anecdotes and short stories onstage.

Nos chansons comprennent des selections populaires traditionnelles du repertoire Tzigane, en langue russe, roumaine, et romani. Elles sont faites pour danser! Le repertoire instrumental traditionnel est souvent sans titre connu; nous creons toujours un programme avec beaucoup de variete vis-a-vis les rhythmes et tonalites pour stimuler l'interet des spectateurs. Nous trouvons aussi des occasions pour eduquer le public a propos de la culture de l'Europe de l'est, a travers des anecdotes et courtes contes sur scene.