Cobra’s dance by Doina Sîrbu

Her father abandoned her even from her birth, and her mother works abroad in search of a decent life. Lacking the parental warmth Felicia escaped in music, and the flute became like a brother to her.

„If you don’t mind I put the score in the front”, tells me Felicia and she spreads her delicate fingers towards the white sheets painted in black on a staff. „There are new pieces which I cannot learn by heart for a week”. She starts with the tune-up. Her lips, cheeks, fingers and lungs must be ready in order to breathe in and out music. Some strange sounds, which the ear of a beginner cannot perceive or of a man who doesn’t know the art of the canto at flute, they float in the silent room. Embarrassed she asks if she can start, she hears a ‘’yes’’ from her mother, she breathes deeply. She presses the keys, and the pressure in the room increases, from the top note she lowers decreasingly towards a sound less understandably. Her emotions appear on her face, she feels ashamed that I listen to her, and her eyes stare somewhere into space looking for their concentration. She rarely looks at her paper, she knows what to do, her fingers glide from one key to another, they glide fast, they glide more slowly, offering the sounds a unique magic. We are in the office of the Association „Queen’s Heart”, a small room with two doors, with an office table around which there are many chairs and a sofa on which Felicia’s mother & aunt are sitting. Everybody pricks up their ears, the music of that instrument dominates the silence of the room.

Felicia comes from a musical family on her mother’s side. She wanted to be tested her musical hearing even from kindergarten. Three years later, the doctor, Tunaru Adriana, Head of Department of the Association „Queen’s Heart” from Bârlad, remembers the little girl Felicia who told her then „I will go to the Music School!” She promised her then that if at the test she will prove to have absolute pitch, she will help her get there. „ I waited … and finally it happened like this.”

The school year had already started for 2 weeks and Felicia was the pupil in the 4th grade at School no. 4 from Bârlad. „I was during classes when somebody told me to go to the Music School”. Usually children are accepted in the enclosure of this institution from the 5th grade, but ‘’thanks to the records, Mr. Andrew asked me if we do not have a quality person. I answered him that we have, but in the 4th grade’’, the lady Doctor said with a proud smile. Being in the same school the transfer was realized easily. She was taken from the 4th grade in order to win a year.

18_bigŞcoala Generala Nr.4 "Tudor Panfile" Bârlad

She learnt very fast to play the flute. She got tired but she very much liked what she chose. „I was learning in phases. Mrs. Andrei Camelia, my first teacher, gave me first the head to blow in it’’, says enthusiastically the pupil of the Music School, and the eyes betrays her the clear of the memories. „She believes in my talent”, words that she pronounces loudly and focus them. Mrs. Camelia has done many for her, she helped her with the clothing, one thing that Felicia feels ashamed, because frequently she entered in disputes with the classmates because of the poor style of dress. She was wearing older clothes, clothes she received from others, not with a label from the shop. She came to classes outside the schedule as well, rehearsals that she did not pay, what normally a pupil should do, and which represented a helping hand.

There are pieces which she studies alone, where she makes an effort in order to understand and to learn. With the teacher it is easier „because she shows you. Here she must vibrate, here you must play louder, here piano, here acenti or C sharp”. She stretches her hand towards the portfolio. On the sheet with musical notes she has drawn some signs „I must play simply and sweet, that is softly”. She learns the pieces by heart, but if she doesn’t play them more than a month she forgets them. She has dozens of scores in her collection, consequently you must focus on the most recent ones.

She likes to be clapped, to be in the centre of attention or to learn from others. Her first Olympics was at Piatra Neamț, an area Olympics from the area of Moldova. In the first phase she took the 1st place, and in the second the 2nd place „but I didn’t go further”, the girls says sorrow. She took 98 points, while she had to gather 100. She participates for 2 years to the inaugurated competition in honour of the teacher Ioan Nicolau, where she always takes the 1st prize. There followed the Olympics from Vaslui and at Galați, where after the victory from the first phase, in the second she took the 2nd place. „There were better children, but not even I did feel much better. I entered unexpectedly. I knew that a few children had to go out also, and when I heard my name «I?! » Wasn’t ready”, consequently she had big emotions. At the first piece she made some mistakes, for which she paid with the top place. She is aware that she did not present herself at the level on which she bet, but not even the other flute girl did not deserve the first place „she played, but she was more making gestures. Well, like this I also do, but I focus more on the song. This comes implicitly.”

She liked to play at the museum „Vasile Pîrvan” and the museum „ Mihail Kogălniceanu”, because there are many people and the place is elegant, Felicia says with admiration, and her eyes shine. Together with the orchestra she participated at a concert from the Lyceum, and with Gabriela, a pupil at the Music School, she played in duo at a Foundation of Charity, destined for the disabled people.

Felicia was a prize winner until the 4th grade and she obtained an Excellence Diploma after she finished the 6th grade. She learns well at school, worse with Physics. She likes her English classes after she learnt it. „ I did not know English at all, until the 4th grade, I studied French.”. At the end of the year she took the smallest grade, but now the numbers from the register have evolved.

She was nervous when she stepped into the Music School which was situated at a different level unlike School no. 4, where she came from, where 60% of the children were gypsies. „I was with the Romanian pupils in the same classroom, I was alone”. Nobody realized her origin, she is a little black haired gypsy, with brown eyes, her hair light brown, and now on her forehead slip blonde locks. „I tried to be like them, not to point at me with their fingers”, she tells me when I ask her why she dyed her hair and in her voice dominates some notes of fear connected with shyness. She put her mask down over a year after she asserted herself and felt more safely. Despite all these there are children who do not like her „They were saying that I do not get dressed… appropriately”.

„There are children who do not accept gypsies. For them it would be a joy that he is Romanian and she would be a gypsy. He would have an advantage to insult her. They are gypsies who are a cut above a Romanian at school, at learning, in their behaviour, in their clothing, but this is our life and we shall go further on”, says Felicia’s aunt, Magdalena Drosu, with sad remarks in her voice. In her class there were two girls that did not like her from the start, one plays the flute, another the piano. „The worst one’’ left to study in Iasi. Now she plays in a trio with two more colleagues „I don’t really get on well with one because she has many faces”, but she is happy that she found a common language with all her classmates.

At home near the fireplace

At present she lives at home together with her mother, but when this returns to work in Spain, Felicia moves to her step grandmother. She communicates with her step father „I do not call him father, I call him by his name”. Most of the time my mother does not stay with him, she works abroad and she tries to offer her whatever she needs. She does not know too many things about her real father, only that he was very bad with her when she was little. She does not have brothers or sisters, and her best friend, who is a little bit older than her, replaces her family. „When they see us in the photos, everybody says that we are sisters”. She wants to become an idol for her children, for them to be proud of her, with her success at school and at music. „I would like that my daughter, if I will have a daughter, well I would like to have a daughter, to play as well the flute, and the boy the piano”.

Her mother and grandmother encourage her to move on with her studies. In the first year she played the instrument offered by the school, then her mother gave her as a gift a flute. The surprise came unexpectedly. „First she told me that she didn’t buy me anything’’, she tells me and she holds in her delicate hands the precious flute. She repeats the words „Look what mum brought you’’ with a very big smile. „When I saw this I was very happy. I played a piece from the orchestra”. She shows me the black box in which the instrument stays, it’s an ‘’unusual box’’, as she reports me enthusiastically Felicia, in it there is another piece. She tried to play also with it, but she still did not get used to it.


The room again is embraced with music. Some long sounds are followed by others, shorter, livelier or which slide in time forming a note. Felicia blinks with her long eyelashes, she smiles, she embraces the room with her eyes, and her hands together with the silver instrument live a real story with princes and princesses from a faraway kingdom. That Oriental trace which I distinguished from her canto made me feel near her on the sands of Arabia, enchanted by the dance of cobra that turns up in all the splendour in front of us. Slow music and calm changes into a swirl of sounds. Her dimples are clearly noticed and her face moles. Her arms float in the air, and the cobra continues her movements. Felicia is 13 years old, and the music paints her future. She dreams about the Conservatory, at concerts in Vienna, Paris and Prague, at the registration among the little soldiers of the Royal Academy Orchestra.

This article can also be read here .