The “fabulous” interwar that set the authorities on fire: who was Sergiu Malagamba, dandy of Bucharest

Sergiu Malagamba was a well-known name in the interwar period, this character being able to put the authorities of the time on fire.

Full of charisma, Sergiu Malagamba was making waves in interwar Bucharest, being considered one of the best drummers of the times. Being a true local dandy, he launched the eccentric fashion of the 40’s, having a special way of dressing.

This brought him very easily to the attention of the authorities, being imprisoned even in the camp in Târgu Jiu, but for a short period of time. A well-known musician who always managed to stand out, this was the fabulous character of Bucharest of yesteryear.

Malagamba interned in the camp

“In addition to the fame of a brilliant musician, Malagamba also had a special appearance, with his slender, nervous body, emaciated face and mustache à la Artagnan.” Malagamba cut, Malagamba shoes (narrow and high heels), Malagamba jackets with low lapels… The dance schools had also started to advertise with the announcement: “Let’s teach Malagamba dance!”.

Here we are, the ones from the bank of Dâmboviţa, gaining a celebrity that others did not have. Because there was never a “Ginger Rogers dance,” not even a “Fred Astaire dance.” But “the Malagamba dance” was and was danced frantically, “wrote composer Themistocles Popa in his book” Passing the Military Marching Band. “

Sergiu (Serghei) Malagamba was born on February 6, 1913, in Chisinau, into a family of Armenian origin
Sergiu (Serghei) Malagamba was born on February 6, 1913, in Chisinau, into a family of Armenian origin

Sergiu Malagamba, a dandy of interwar Bucharest

Due to the fact that Ion Antonescu was in charge at the time, the fashion was considered by the authorities to be indecent, so the famous singer ended up in the camp, being accused of being a “head of a religious sect dangerous to state security”.

“I think that in 1942, we were at war, the idea came to him to dress his orchestra in shirts of the same color. With thin ties, with crepe-soled shoes, in white stockings. The remaining youth in the Capital caught the idea and adopted it immediately.

This is how the Malagambist fashion appeared… Even Constantin Tănase appeared on stage dressed “exaggeratedly”, making the audience delirious. The story took exaggerated proportions and reached the point where the rulers decreed that poor Malagamba and his followers be interned in the camp “, said Horia Șerbănescu, actor at the” Tănase “Theater.

Malagamba was born on February 6, 1913 in Chisinau, and his father was Italian, while his mother was from Armenia. Sergiu Malagamba was a composer, conductor and drummer, but also a “fashion icon” of the interwar period.

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He began his studies at the Chisinau Conservatory, but completed them in Bucharest in 1950. Those close to him were called Serghei, and he ended up debuting as a drummer on the stage of the Capital in 1937. Two years later he would conduct his first music concert. Malagamba Orchestra, can be heard in the Melody and Continental bars.

He collaborated with the famous Maria Tănase, and at the beginning of the 40’s he launched the fashion called “Malagabmba”. Together with the Tănase Theater and the Jazz Orchestra from Bcuurești, which was conducted by him, he ends up holding a tour in the largest cities of the former USSR. Although he climbed to the top, he died on April 15, 1978, in Bucharest.

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