Johnny Depp Embraces His Gypsy Heart in Romania as He Meets with Romany Musician Pals

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Johnny Depp took some time out from touring with the Hollywood Vampires to immerse himself deep in Romanian culture on Sunday.

Depp – who visited "Dracula's Castle" high in the Transylvanian hills with Tim Burton and bandmate Alice Cooper on Saturday – dropped in on Gypsy musicians Ionita and Viorica Din Clejani and their daughter, singer Marguerita.

The family hails from the village of Clejani, 25 miles south of the Romanian capital Bucharest, and are leading figures in the Romany music scene.

Ionita is also an old Depp friend, having appeared and performed with Romany band Taraf de Haidouks in the actor's 2000 film The Man Who Cried, where he was featured playing the accordion in a scene with Christina Ricci.



Depp has recalled how he arrived for the first day on the movie's set and found the band set up and playing some songs to welcome him. He says he fell instantly in love with Gypsy music at that moment and has continued to promote the music ever since, appearing in several documentaries such as 2006's When the Road Bends.

VIDEO: Amber Heard Files for Divorce from Johnny Depp


Ionita and Vicora Din Clejani's website reveals that the appreciation is mutual – and how their bond was sealed with one exceptional gift when they met Depp in Paris in the late '90s.

"My accordion broke after filming in the rain," says Ionita. "Then the big artist made me a present of a new accordion on my birthday."

Later, when "we played for Johnny in Paris, he had tears in his eyes when my wife sang him a traditional Gypsy folk song."

He adds, "We also played for him in his club The Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard and at his home."

That particular event was a garden party Depp and then-partner Vanessa Paradis attended, alongside Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and others. Gheorghe "Caliu" Anghel, the first violin player of Taraf de Haidouks, recalls the story of their live performance at Depp's house in L.A. in the film Iagalo.

Depp, who is in the middle of a contentious divorce with wife Amber Heard and faces allegations that he abused her throughout their four-year relationship – is scheduled to play with the Hollywood Vampires at Bucharest's Romexpo Parc on Monday evening.

In court documents responding to Heard's initial court filing for a temporary restraining order, Depp's lawyers claimed the actress "is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse."