Damian Draghici, the Romanian Prime Minister’s councillor on Roma issues

By • on July 16, 2012

The Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta appointed the Roma artist Damian Draghici, who is the only Romanian musician to ever win a Grammy, as the state councilor on Roma issues on June 12. Damian Draghici is going to deal with the problems faced by Romanian Roma and examine cases of discrimination. His appointment took place in the midst of a public scandal caused by the mayor of Baia Mare Catalin Chereches, who forcibly relocated hundreds of Roma to some improvised housing in a disaffected chemical laboratory.

In the past, Damian Draghici has served as the Roma ambassador during the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) and the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008).

Draghici was born on 31 March 1970 in Bucharest into a musical family. He started playing the flute at the age of 10, having played various other instruments since the age of 3. At 15 he was already playing and recording with the Radio Orchestra of Bucharest.

He fled from Romania at age 18, first to Yugoslavia, and later to Greece. After busking and playing in clubs, he was discovered by a Dutch subsidiary of Sony Music, who offered him the chance to record for them. After one of the concerts he gave in Athens, he was offered a full scholarship