Add to My Yahoo!

Forget Bush, White House press corps captivated by pan flute master Zamfir
Published: Friday April 4, 2008

| StumbleUpon
Print This  Email This

Forget about President Bush, Vladimir Putin and matters of international security at the NATO summit.

It was Zamfir, "Master of the Pan Flute," who captivated the White House press corps in Bucharest on Friday.

Zamfir, the native Romanian and gypsy music virtuoso, played a lively 30-minute set of traditional tunes for journalists covering President Bush's visit here.

Although his popularity in Europe never quite seemed to catch on across the Atlantic, Zamfir made his mark on American television in the 1980s with late-night infomercials that seemed to be everywhere.

On Friday, as NATO leaders met behind closed doors with Putin, Zamfir and an energetic septet rocked the White House press filing center. It was believed to be an unprecedented performance in the normally staid quarters.

"I can safely say that we have never seen anything like this before," said CBS correspondent Bill Plante, who has covered the White House since 1981 and, like many of his colleagues, remembered all too well the explosion of Zamfir commercials two decades ago.

"We can all say we grew up with Zamfir," said a surprised and amused National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Zamfir, himself, eschewed world politics.

He gestured to his band and said "It's all about my music," when asked for his thoughts on the NATO summit.

His appearance, at the invitation of a television news producer, came two days after the press corps was presented with an informational packet about famous Romanians one that placed the pan-flutist among the most recognizable and well-known citizens.

This video is from, broadcast April 4, 2008.

includes wire reports