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Fanfare Ciocărlia (alternate spelling Ciocârlia) is a popular twelve-piece Roma brass band from the northeastern Romanian village of Zece Prăjini. The band began as a loose assemblage of part-time musicians playing at local weddings and baptisms. In October 1996, the German sound engineer and record producer Henry Ernst visited Zece Prajini and convinced a number of the musicians there to assemble a touring band. These musicians decided to name the band Fanfare Ciocărlia: Fanfare being a French word that has passed into Romanian and is used to designate a brass band; Ciocârlia being the Romanian word for the skylark. Since their discovery by Ernst, who serves as their manager, they have played more than thousand concerts in more than 50 countries across the globe.

With historical roots in Austrian and Turkish military bands, Fanfare Ciocărlia's instrumental lineup includes trumpets, tenor and baritone horns, tubas, clarinets, saxophones, bass drum and percussion. Their song lyrics are usually either in Romani or Romanian. Their musical style stems primarily from the traditions of Roma and Romanian folk dance music, but they also borrow freely from Turkish, Bulgarian, Serbian and Macedonian musical styles, and they incorporate a number of tunes gleaned from international radio, Hollywood and Bollywood in their broad repertoire as well. They are best known for a very fast, high-energy sound, with complex rhythms and high-speed, staccato clarinet, saxophone and trumpet solos, sometimes performed at more than 200 beats per minute. They are also known for using no sheet music in their performances, sometimes randomly blasting their horns and clarinets in the middle of a song, and for playing old, battered instruments onstage.

The band won the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Europe in 2006. Their latest release is entitled Queens and Kings. The band plays a cover version of 'Born to be wild' in the film 'Borat'.

On the web:

- Website from their agent: http://www.asphalt-tango.de/fanfare/artist.html

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Goran Bregovic (FRS Yugoslavia)

What do we think:

DB: The question you can ask here if this is still pop music. Well, i suggest you visit one of the Balkan Beat dance evenings that go around, or listen to albums from artists like Shantel to conclude that this is at least popular music. And yes, if you here Fanfare's interpretation of the famous 007 theme (with that heavy ska-feel that you'll find a lot in their music) you will also see that this can be pop. Festive music. PS: i have no idea what their old albums sound like so if someone wants to rate them, just e-mail.

Recommended albums:

? - Radio Pascani - 1998

? - Baro Biao - 1999

? - Iag Bari - 2001

♪♪♪ - Gili Garabdi - 2005

♪♪♪ - Queens and Kings - 2007

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Central Europe