The creator and director of IZA is Ioan Pop. He was born in a peasant family in Poienile Izei in Maramuresh region, Romania, on the border of Ukraine - the place visited by Bela Bartok during his ethnomusicological research. In his youth, Ioan learnt to play instruments fashionable at the time: tilinca (shepherd bagpipe) and fiddle, viola and guitar. Quite early, he started to play in various ceremonies and Sunday parties.
Years later, with his own band IZA, he researched and explored the unique folklore of his own region. As a singer, dancer and instrumentalist, he became the ambassador of this culture,
Maramuresh, especially its northern borders, are settled by both Romanian and Ukrainian people. Both cultures, together with the local Jewish community, interweave naturally and smoothly, creating a unique folkloric landscape. Most popular are the lyrical hori songs - accompanied or not, sung individually or by groups by people of different age and on different occasions; zicali - instrumental pieces for fiddles, guitars and a drum.