Who is Gheorghe Zamfir, and what has he contributed to music?
A Romanian pan flute musician, Gheorghe Zamfir is possibly the most famous of any such flautist in the world. He became famous after Marcel Cellier, a Swiss enthomusicologist, who had been researching Romanian folk music in the 1960's, discovered him. Then, in 1972, Vladimir Cosma featured him as a soloist in his film, Le Grand Blond avec une Chaussure Noire [The Tall Blond Man with a Black Shoe]. Since his solo in this film, Zamfir has been featured in several others; as a result, his instrument has been revived as new interest in it has been generated through the medium of television.
Much exposure came for Zamfir came when the BBC adopted one of his pieces, a Romanian funeral song entitled "Doina De Jale," as its theme song. As a result, the song was released in 1976 by Epic Records as a single in response to public demand. Among the other films for which he has recorded on the soundtrack, are The Karate Kid, Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, and the gangster film, Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America. A single, "The Lonely Shepherd," has been released by the Phillips' record company. Indeed, Gheorghe Zamfir has revived an ancient instrument and given it new worth; he has also expanded its range since he has added more pipes to the traditional Romanian-style pan flute, gaining as many as eight overtones to the fundamental tone for each pipe by altering the embouchure, or position of the lips as air is blown into the flute's opening.
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