The fascinating story of Romania’s first true lute player, Zavaidoc: he died poor and blind, after having known the highest heights of glory

Zavaidoc is perhaps Romania’s first true lute player, known to both the general public and the elite of the time.

Zavaidoc is an icon for lute music even now, decades after it was “in fashion”, i.e. in the interwar period. He was at the height of his fame and was also involved in the famous scandals of the time, even suspected of murder.

Zavaidoc, from the beginning

Born in 1896, in Pitesti, in a family of famous lute players, Zavaidoc (real name Marin Teodorescu), received his first music lessons from his father, the famous drummer Tănase Teodorescu, about whom it is said that when he played, “the deaf cried”.

Unfortunately, by the time the little lute-player was only 13 years old, Tănăse had died, which prompted Zavaidoc to found the “Zavaidoc Brothers” to ensure the well-being of his family, playing the guitar and playing vocals with his brothers and sisters.

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He went to war in 1916 and continued singing, this time on the front, to the delight of his comrades.

The name Zavaidoc was to be inspired by an archaic form of the word ‘nag’.

At one point, reports, he ended up singing with George Enescu’s team, but also with Maria Tănase, which quickly put him on the map of the most appreciated Romanian singers.

Naturally, during the interwar period, there was no pub that didn’t have fun to Zavaidoc’s music, the man singing so passionately that the pub owners “used to fight over him”.

He filled restaurants and made people enjoy themselves as well as consume, much to the delight of the owners.

Zavaidoc - one of the few photographs of Romania's first real lute player
Zavaidoc – one of the few photographs of Romania’s first real lute player

Suspected of ordering the murder of the famous Zaraza

Another popular singer at the time was Cristian Vasile, who was hopelessly in love with the beautiful Zaraza. It is also said that Zavaidoc was caught in the snares of the beautiful young woman.

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But as Zaraza seems to have chosen Cristian Vasile, an urban legend tells that this would have made the lothario so jealous that he would have hatched a plan of revenge.

One evening, when Zaraza goes out to buy tobacco, she is murdered by a Roma man who was supposedly paid by Zavaidoc.

Obviously, it is not known if this is true, as it could not be proven at the time either, so Zavaidoc was never held responsible for the alleged crime.

Zaraza – rare photo

However, in 1944, the famous lute player fell into bed, being cared for by his granddaughters, having already lost his entire fortune. In the same year, he was moved to the Philanthropy hospital bed where, blind, suffering from kidney, lung and heart disease, he breathed his last at the age of only 48.

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