A voice for eternity and a death that cannot be reversed. The tragic fate of the woman who was called Édith Piaf of Romania: Doina Badea was recognised by her wedding ring in 1977

Doina Badea was called, throughout her short career, Édith Piaf of Romania. The singer’s deep, unmistakable voice had the gift of touching even the most hardened soul.

Sadly, the artist died in the 1977 earthquake that claimed more than 1,500 lives.

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Doina Badea – archive image

Doina Badea, this Édith Piaf of Romania

Doina Badea was born on January 6, 1940, in Craiova and was a singer of light music, extremely loved by the public of that period.

She graduated from the Popular School of Art in Craiova and immediately afterwards she started collaborating with the Oltenia State Philharmonic Choir, with which she had the opportunity to participate in many tours and performances.

Throughout his career, he collaborated with musical and revue theatres all over Romania He made his debut in 1960, on the stage of the theatre in Deva. He managed to stand out for his deep voice with a strong ambitus. In other words, there was no mistaking her for anyone else.

It can be said that she conquered Romania at the Mamaia Festival in 1963 with the song “Towards the Sun We Fly”, and later she was appreciated for the song “From Forever on This Earth”, which won her the grand prize at Mamaia in 1967.

“She resembled no one and no one will ever be able to imitate her, because Doina Badea was a singular apparition, to whom even the indifferent recognize her unrepeatable uniqueness”, declared, at one time, the musicologist George Sbârcea.

“I met her at the Restaurant Măgura in Eforie. Her son was born in the same month as Dana, our little girl. I met her there at the seaside, we used to go there in the evening, after the shows where she and Dan sang. That’s how I met Doina Badea, her husband and her child. She was a nice woman. Often on stage she had a sober, cold appearance, but in everyday life she was very nice and I can say she was really funny.

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In her everyday life she had a warmth that was unbelievable. That’s how I knew her. I remember she was on a weight-loss diet and had to eat chicken. And I said to her: What kind of diet is this when you’re eating fried chicken?

She was a glutton, I think she couldn’t help eating, though she always took care of her figure. By the standards of those days. And she dressed according to the rules for appearances on stage and on TV,” recalled Sida Spătaru, Dan Spătaru’s wife, about the late Doina Badea.

She was called Édith Piaf of Romania.

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Doina Badea – archive image

They recognized her by her wedding ring

Doina Badea was married to Traian Zmeu, with whom she had two children. All four members of the family lost their lives in the 1977 earthquake, under the ruins of the Continental block in which they lived. The block collapsed on top of the building in front of it and the people inside were left homeless.

Doina Badea’s end came on the fateful night of March 4, 1977, in Bucharest. That year’s earthquake ended the lives of many Romanians.

According to the authorities at the time, the artist was recognized by her wedding ring. “Only a hand of it remained”.

“It’s as if she were coming back from the grave and I would have the chance to present this absolutely remarkable singer who made her mark on Romanian light music before I started this work as a presenter.

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Probably, first of all, I would be very excited and I would be in the same position as the audience, I wouldn’t know her very well and neither would they. But, anyway, a presenter has to do his homework when he gets on the microphone, he has to be “hardened” in terms of information and to put the performer in the best light.

I would refer primarily to her exceptional voice, outstanding professionalism, as related to me by others. From what I have heard, what I have read about her, she was a very serious performer, meticulous in the preparation of each song, she had an Ardelenean seriousness, of that school in Deva, where she had been a minor soloist in a provincial revue theatre until she became a great singer.

I would say she was at the peak of her career until her misfortune intervened. She’d done a lot more, she wasn’t at the sunset of her career, on the contrary, she was right at the peak of her climb. Anyway, in ’77, the Mamaia Festival had been wrongfully interrupted by the management, and she, who was a festival singer, would have suffered.

Doina Badea was not what one might call a touring, show singer, because her voice was, fatally, more for aesthetes, for people who appreciate the voice, but she could not capture the audience very much. She had a certain genre and the songs were more of the same, more serious, instead she was a contest singer. Any competition piece entrusted to her, such as those large, festival pieces, also cultivated at San Remo, she led her to awards”, Octavian Ursulescu told about Doina Badea.

Among the nationally known who perished under the rubble in 1977 were also Toma Caragiu, Alexandru Bocăneț, Filofteia Lăcătușu, Alexandru Ivasiuc, Mihai Gafița, Mihail Petroveanu, Veronica Porumbacu, Eliza Petrăchescu, A.E. Baconsky, Mihaela Mărăcineanu,

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