Oxana’s music brings Romanians in Ireland a little taste of home
2017-08-04 10:44:24 -
By Bill McCarthy
Romanians in Ireland need no longer look homeward for music performed in their native tongue, as an immigrant from Moldova is bringing their tunes to them.
Oxana Copceanu, 36, has been singing Romanian folk music since she was four years old. Now in Ireland, she has made a career of performing at weddings, baptisms and events for Romanians in Dublin.
“Romanian communities have been here for a very long time, and it’s special for them to christen a baby or have a wedding or birthday party and know that someone from their country is here to do that type of work,” she says. “They are very flattered and happy to not have the expense of bringing someone from Romania here to do that.”
Copceanu has recorded 12 original songs for a CD and is working toward the release of a second album, she explains. But she’s also reaching out to her fan base online: her Facebook page has over 3,000 followers and her YouTube channel has been viewed more than 45 thousand times.
Still, Oxana feels she is inspired more by live performance than online success. 
“The emotion that I see when I perform at these parties makes me go forward,” she says. “When I sing a song and they receive the message through the song and it makes them happy or makes their day or makes their party special, it is unforgettable.”
It helps, of course, that her music sounds good. 
“Oxana is a genius in music,” says Carmina Harr, a Romanian-Irish writer who saw Copceanu sing at her sister’s christening and her brother’s wedding. “The atmosphere in both events was unbelievable. Everybody was dancing and enjoying all her songs, talent and performance.”
Copceanu hopes this talent will help her give back to those who eased her transition to Ireland. 
“It wasn’t easy when I came to Ireland in 2001 because I was only 20 years old,” she says. “I just want to thank the Romanian community for welcoming me so warmly.”
The Irish community was also hospitable, she adds, as locals helped her practice English and navigate the city.
“The best thing about Ireland is the people – how nice and friendly and simple they were,” she says. “Even when you’re a foreigner, everywhere you go you are received with a smile.”
Without such kindness, Copceanu says she might not have lasted abroad.
She first migrated to Ireland to escape a troubled relationship with the father of her two-year-old son, Alex. She knew singing would be more profitable abroad, and her uncle lived in Dublin. But she spoke little English and could not afford to bring Alex with her, so she left him in Moldova with her mother.
Once in Ireland, Copceanu enrolled in English school and took on two jobs. She lived with her uncle for nine months, and did not see Alex for two years.

“For the first two years in Ireland, I only slept four out of every 24 hours,” she recalls. “With two jobs and going to school full-time, it wasn’t easy at all. When you leave behind a two-year-old – especially from an unlucky relationship – it’s very hard.
But after those two years, Copceanu was able to return to Moldova on visits to check on Alex. And after six years and a switch in jobs, she brought him to Ireland.
With her finances secure and her son with her, Copceanu started investing in her music – and in herself. She began booking gigs and, in 2006, met her “other half”.
“I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but we both came from relationships where we suffered, so we wanted to be friends from the start,” she says of the man who is now her husband. “But this friendship kind of grew into something else and about a year down the line, we woke up living in the same place.”
Now, Copceanu says she is happier than ever. Her husband encourages her passions, and the two have a nine-year-old boy together.
“He supports everything that Oxana Copceanu is today,” she says.
And what is she today? By her own account, she is a singer and an immigrant, driven by love for music and a desire to make moments special.
But for Romanians living in Ireland? She’s the one who brings them a little taste of home.

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