Taraf de Haidouks! It is a gypsy band from Romania. If you like gypsy music and Balkan music, read it carefully. You will meet with one of the best gypsy band of the world. They are world music’s smiley faces. The band carries gypsy music to the stage of world music successfully. Could an instrument talk? Taraf de Haidouks members do it. It is a Clejani, Romania based gypsy band consists of 15 funny musicians that they perform from 80’s. Although some members died, the band still plays with musicians from the first and the second generations. Romania hosts the largest gypsy community of Europe. It is possible to find many gypsy orchestras and group in Romania. The country exports high quality gypsy music with Taraf de Haidouks and Fanfare Ciocarlia. They are the milestone of gypsy music and Balkan music. When you hear their music, you will enjoy and try to control yourself not to dance.
Taraf de Haidouks’ musical journey on world music stage began after their debut album in 1991. The group appeared in Tony Gatlif’s awarded movie Latcho Drom. Actually, the movie tells a story about them. They became famous and reputed gypsy music group after they appear in this movie. Tony Gatlif is also musician that his movies are about gypsy culture. Taraf de Haidouks also have some famous fans like actor Johnny Depp and fashion designer Yojhi Yamomoto. They appeared in Johnny Depp’s The Man who Cried movie. Some of their songs released in the soundtrack album as well. Yamomoto invited them to his fashion show in Tokyo and Paris as model and musician. The group also played with violin virtuoso Yehudi Mehunin and Kronos Quartet. Working with reputed artists and appearing in awarded movies made the group one of the best representatives of gypsy music.
Taraf de Haidouks polyphonic sound consists of some instruments like violin, double drum, accordion, flute, cimbalom, double bass, and some wind instruments. Group members’ musical abilities are perfect that it goes to the virtuosity. They joined countless concerts, festivals and organizations. Some musicians from Turkey, Macedonia and Bulgaria also worked with them during the group’s world tour. Their live performance is excellent that I have been to their concerts two times. Improvisation ability, abilities in instrument playing, rotation make their music original and enjoyable. You could see violinist plays accordion in another song. Many of group members are also multi instrumentalist. They had some musical projects with some famous Balkan music and gypsy music groups like Kocani Orkestar and Boban Markovic. Their performance with one of the most important Balkan brass band Kocani Orkestar should be listened. The group won BBC Radio 3 Awards of World Music in 2002. Although it is the most important awards, the group was awarded by many organizations.
Let us see Taraf de Haidouks albums.
- Musiques de Tziganes de Roumanie (1991)
- Honourable Brigands, Magic Horses and Evil Eye (1994)
- Dumbala Dumba (1998) is one of my favorite albums. Improvisation is perfect.
- Taraf de Haidouks(1999) is a compilation album.
- Band of Gypsies (2001) is another extremely suggested album. A la Turk and The Return of the Magic Horses are the best songs in the album.
- The Continuing Adventures of Taraf de Haidouks (2006) is a good documentary about the group. You could see their excellent live performance. The album released as CD and DVD.
- Maskarada (2007) is an album that some classical compositions like Asturias and Bartok rearranged and played in gypsy music standards. Do not lose the album. It is perfect.
- Band of Gypsies Part Two (2011) is one of my favorites. You could see the group performance with Kocani Orkestar. A gypsy group and a Balkan brass band play a masterpiece together.
Taraf de Haidouks is one of the best gypsy group and orchestra in the world music market. If you want to hear excellent performance, improvisation and virtuosity, do not lose the band. You could find some videos and song previews in their official profile page.
Bye for now!