Jan 17, 2012

Fanfare Ciocarlia: Legends of Balkan Music and Gypsy Brass Bands


fanfare-ciocarlia-balkan-mus-baro-biaoFanfare Ciocarlia is gypsy brass band legends. Balkan Music is my favorite genre that I wrote posts about musician side of Emir Kusturica and Taraf de Haidouks. Today, would like to write about another Balkan Music legend, Fanfare Ciocarlia. The band consists of 12 funny gypsy musicians from Romania. They do not perform ordinary gypsy music like many groups. They perform gypsy music with the other styles like flamenco, tango, rock and so on. Fanfare Ciocarlia is world music’s happy face that they carried gypsy brass band music to higher levels. German music producer Henry Ernst visits their village in Romania and convinces them to become a touring band. Since they discovered by Ernst, they played in many concerts in many countries from Australia to America.

This video crated with Creative Commons License. It is not a subject of copyright.

Brass band music is one of the most important elements of Balkan Music and gypsy music. It takes very important place in Balkan countries, especially in weddings and funerals. We saw Fanfare Ciocarlia in Underground the Emir Kusturica movie. Emir Kusturica means mobile music and it was a good choice to work with Goran Bregovic and Fanfare Ciocarlia in this project. They appeared as walking and playing brass band in the movie. They say that Balkan brass music was affected by Turkish army music that they also use some elements from Turkish, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Macedonian music, although they perform Romanian folk music. The band’s lineup includes trumpets, tenor and baritone horns, tubas, clarinets, saxophones, bass drum and percussion. Speed is their nature that some musicians could reach 200 beats per minute. Virtuosity and diversity make Fanfare Ciocarlia different from the others. Lyrics are in Romanian or Romani languages.

Live performance is the best way to determine a group’s musicality. I could say Fanfare Ciocarlia is the monster of live performance. I have watched their videos many times. I also had an opportunity see them in Istanbul in 2008. Improvisation, harmony, virtuosity and speed of instruments are perfect in their live performance. They discovered the world again and played in more than 1200 concerts in many countries. A gypsy brass band became a worldwide music group. In 2006, they won BBC Radio 3 World Music Award.


The band also has some projects with the other famous Balkan Music performers. They made an album with Boban and Marko Markovic Orchestra from Serbia. Balkan Brass Battle is very funny and fascinating project and album made by Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban and Marko Markovic Orchestra. The album released in 2011. Both two funny bands tour Europe together. They played in many concerts, and they will play in the future. It will be very nice to see them in Istanbul in May 2012.

Let us talk about Fanfare Ciocarlia albums. You could find discography of the band with my explanations and suggestions.

  • Radio Pascani (1998) is a nice debut album. You could find many famous folk songs from Balkan countries. Nicoleta and Hora Cu Strigaturii songs are my favorites.
  • Baro Biao: World Wide Wedding (1999)
  • Iag Bari (2001) is also described as The Gypsy Horns from the Mountains Beyond. This album made them well known and reputed band in world music. Although Iag Bari is the most famous song, I also suggest Tu Romnie, Bubamara and Hora Di Petrosnitza songs. This album is extremely suggested album. Do not lose it!
  • Gypsy Brass Legends (2004) is the story of the band. You could find documentary about them, live performances and so on. It was released as DVD.
  • Gili Garabdi (2005) is called as Ancient Secrets of Gypsy Brass. It is BBC Radio 3 world music awarded album. It is very funny to hear James Bond 007 Theme in Balkan brass music. Alili, Golden Days, and Godzila are my favorite songs in the album.
  • Queens and Kings (2007) is a perfect album that the most famous Balkan Music artists meet with the band. Saban Bajramovic and Esma Redzepova are some of them. It is very interesting to hear Born to be Wild with brass band rhythms. Sandala, Ibrahim, Que Dolor (flamenco version of Iag Bari) and Born to be Wild are my favorites.
  • LIVE! (2009) is a live album that their live performance in improvisation is perfect.
  • Balkan Brass Battle (2011) was made together with Boban and Marko Markovic Orchestra. Do not think to buy the album, only but it. You will enjoy hearing music from Balkan Music legends. It is an excellent album that James Bond Theme, Asphalt Tango, Devla and Disco Dzumbus are my favorites.

fanfare-ciocarlia-iag-bari-album fanfare-ciocarlia-and-boban-markovic-orkestar-balkan-brass-batle

Fanfare Ciocarlia is one of the legends of Balkan Music and gypsy music. They carried local music into world music stage successfully. Do not lose the funny band. You could visit their official website to listen to some previews and buy their albums. You could also check tour dates. If they visit your country, do not lose to see their live performance.


Bye for now!


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