Romanian fan favorites

The 12-member Fanfare Ciocarlia sing in Romani and Romanian and play a plethora of brass and percussion instruments.

October 14, 2011 17:05
2 minute read.
Fanfare Ciocarlia

musicians in Romani brass band . (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Over the last decade or so we have become somewhat accustomed to Balkan-Gypsy bands breezing in and blowing us away with an insouciant mix of jolly melodies and an undisguised sense of revelry. However, the story of the discovery of 12-member Romani brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia makes for particularly entertaining reading.

Fanfare Ciocarlia, which will perform in Tel Aviv and Kiryat Motzkin on October 17 and 18, respectively, was just a loose assemblage of part-time musicians playing sporadically at local weddings and baptisms.

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In October 1996, German sound engineer and record producer Henry Ernst visited the northeastern Romanian village of Zece Prajini and, after being suitably impressed by the artistic endeavor of some of the aforementioned itinerant musicians, convinced a number of them to put a touring band together. Ernst put every penny he had into the venture and, as they say, the rest is history.

Since that chance encounter, Fanfare Ciocarlia has toured the world and put out seven albums. It also received one of the highest kudos available when it won the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Europe in 2006.

Besides their native Romanian music, the Fanfare Ciocarlia dozen draw their inspiration from Austrian and Turkish military bands. True to their go-with-the-flow ethos, they play a wide variety of brass instruments – including trumpets, horns, tubas, clarinets and saxophones – as well as bass drum and all manner of percussion. Their lyrics are generally either in Romani or Romanian, and they cull much of their style mix from Romani and Romanian folk dance music.

Mind you, that mixture of traditional styles does not preclude the occasional departure into the wild and wooly spheres of random horn blasting in midstream nor playing old, battered instruments on stage. Some of the Fanfare Ciocarlia members are also given to producing riffs at astonishing speeds.

Expect the unexpected in Tel Aviv and Kiryat Motzkin next week. Fanfare Ciocarlia will perform at Reading 3 in Tel Aviv at 10 p.m. on October 17, and at Heichal Hateatron in Kiryat Motzkin at 8:30 p.m. on October 18.

For tickets: (03) 609-1769 or *3221

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