Fanfare Ciocarlia are one of the world’s greatest gypsy brass bands, a 24-legged Balkan brass beast whose eastern funk groove has torn up halls and festivals across the planet with their balkan brass sound. Their energetic performances and musical ingenuity winning them fans from Melbourne to Memphis, Tokyo to Toulouse. Growing up sons of farmers in the “hidden” village of Zece Prajini in north-eastern Romania, the bands members learned their craft at the feet of their fathers and grandfathers, proudly approaching every concert as a challenge to both entertain audiences and keep the true spirit of Gypsy music alive. It is no small thing to note that Fanfare Ciocarlia singlehandedly are responsible for the re-emergence and great rise in popularity of balkan brass and the balkan brasss movement from Eastern Europe.
Anyone who has heard Fanfare Ciocarlia can agree on one thing – no brass band has ever played as fast as this before. Make that two things: no brass band had ever sounded like this before! Their village's isolation, situated in a misty valley, its dirt roads are occupied by flocks of geese and horse and carts, meant that throughout the years it remained hidden from the outside world, untouched by the effects of communism and allowing its eighty Gypsy farming families to continue to live a traditional rural lifestyle. This same remote quality also meant that brass musical traditions developed under Ottoman rule still continued to exist in the village when they had long died out in the rest of Romania. Characterised by breakneck speed, technical chops, ripping rhythms and sweet and sour horns, these combined elements separate them from any other brass band on earth.
The Times of London described it as “a heavy, heavy monster sound” and Fanfare’s recordings have taken their eerie Balkan groove into dance clubs across the planet. They were commissioned by Sacha Baron Cohen to cut the biker anthem “Born To Be Wild” for the Borat movie soundtrack and have been sampled and covered ,championed and emulated, by countless DJs, bands and Gypsy orchestras across the world. Ciocarlia have released ten albums, several of which have topped the European World Music charts and their DVD “Brass On Fire” was acclaimed by Songlines magazine as “setting a new standard for music documentaries”. They have played over 2500, and put simply: nobody does it better, harder, faster, funkier than Fanfare Ciocarlia