The queen of Romanian romances had a life in the movies: Ioana Radu was married five times and loved motorcycles

The name Ioana Radu obviously needs no introduction. For decades, the artist has delighted Romanians with her music, be it romances, lute music or even folk music.

However, few people know that Ioana Radu had a life that could easily be turned into a movie script. Despite the music she played, it seems that the queen of romances was particularly fond of motorcycles. What’s more, she also loved people, having been married no less than five times.

Ioana Radu has loved five times, and she’s been to the altar five times…

Born Eugenia Braia, Ioana Radu was the sister of the famous Mia Braia. She loved romance, she loved men, but she also loved motorbikes, as mentioned above. Apparently, the first two characteristics of the artist don’t seem to be related to the third, but the association is as real as it gets.

“For me, romance is the raison d’être! I loved it, I sang it, I gathered it and I scattered it”, declared, at one time, the great singer Ioana Radu, in an interview.

Obviously, her passion for music was inherited genetically, despite the fact that she was the daughter of a modest tavern keeper from Craiova, his name, Constantin Braia.

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The one who was to change her name to Ioana Radu was born on February 17, 1917, in a family with many children, but this did not prevent the artist from following her own path.

Maria, later known as Mia Braia, was destined to become an artist, which is what happened to her. No one in the Braia family had any idea, however, that Eugenia (Ioana Radu) would follow an identical destiny, and even become part of the artistic culture of a country.

The timbre of her voice was not regarded with great confidence, since, at the time, the demands were different. However, it was this timbre that was to set her apart from the rest of the singers in our country and make her what she inevitably became.

She went to high school in Craiova, where she was advised to become a music teacher and sing romances. It was also during this period that she married for the first time Romeo Rădescu, a composer and music teacher from Târgu Jiu. She left him shortly after, preferring to go to Bucharest to try her luck in music.

In Bucharest, he enters a competition organised by the Radio Broadcasting Society and wins it with Eugenia Nedelea, “taking the lead” over the 800 competitors entered in the competition.

Although she was beginning to be successful, Ioana Radu also had to turn to local venues, where she sang for extra money. So she sang for a while in Ploiesti, at the Azuga restaurant, where she commuted three times a week from Bucharest.

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Shortly afterwards, he also got offers at Motanul Negru, Potcoava or Princiar, restaurants in the capital, so he gave up going to Ploiesti.

Immediately after the end of the Second World War, Ioana Radu ended up singing at the Constantin Tănase Theatre, at the State Circus and with the Barbu Lăutaru folk music orchestra.

As for her personal life, Ioana Radu married every man she ever loved. She herself was to talk about it at some point. “I’ve been married five times with proper papers. Twice I married the same man. I’ve never liked love without papers,” Ioana Radu said.

life-story-ioana-radu
Ioana Radu – archive photo

From romances to motorcycles. If he didn’t love music so much he would have become a driver

Ioana Radu was no ordinary woman – not for those times, anyway. She had a “mad” passion for high-speed cars and motorcycles alike.

In fact, the artist was the second woman in Romania to receive a motorcycle driving licence.

An urban legend tells how, at one point during the war, the singer would dress up in a motorcycle suit, get on the motor and ride off to Ardeal during the bombing.

If she didn’t love music so much, she would have become a driver – that’s what Ioana Radu used to say, when asked about her passion for motorcycles.

She died in 1990, in the capital, without anyone by her side.

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