Vardos – Music to Spy To


Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre & Vardos


The thrilling musical story of a violinist turned spy catcher.

Vardos have spent decades perfecting their Eastern European instrumental and language skills; embodying a culture that is ever-present in their performances. Driven by violinist Alana, chased by Maxine on double bass and Sofia on accordion, Vardos play folk and Romany music learnt from Roma musicians.

About the concert

Their performance in Primrose Potter Salon delves into the intriguing true story of a violinist turned spy catcher. Ion Petre Stoican was an ambitious violinist in 1970s Romania during the Ceausescu dictatorship. Snubbed by the musical elite of Bucharest, he worked his way into the inner circle by catching a Western spy. Instead of asking for a cash reward from the government, Ion requested to be allowed to record an album with the leading Bucharest musicians of the day.

Vardos presents this thrilling musical story through violin, piano accordion, and double bass, exploring echoes of the Ceausescu regime that can be felt at every turn.

Praise for Vardos

‘Vardos seem an energy-charged collection of traditional gypsy-folk music from consummate professionals.’ Beat Magazine

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Alana Hunt violin
Sofia Chapman accordion, vocals
Maxine Sutcliffe double bass


Traditional Romanian
Hora lui Sile
Sounds from Sector 6
The Flower Seller
(WP) Propaganda Goose
The Securitate
The Chase
(WP) People of Romania
Hora Poliţia
Ballad of Ceauşescu
(WP) Inside the Cabinet de Folclor
(WP) Viaţa Lăutarului -Musician’s life