bratsch picBratsch are a music group from France. They were founded in the 1970s and after more than 40 years of being together will be calling it a day at the end of 2015. The group consist of five musicians and are among the most well-known and popular world music bands ever.
The band were founded in 1972 by guitarist Dan Gharabian of Armenian origin and violinist Bruno Girard in Paris. After their founding, double bass player Pierre Jacquet joined the band and a while later, clarinettist Nano Peylet and accordionist François Castiello. Pierre Jacquet left the band in 2011 to be replaced by Bruno Girard’s son Theo Girard.
The name of the band is derived from Bratsche (German for viola). In the days of yore, the viola was a popular accompanying instrument of wandering minstrels and symbolises the ties of the band members to the musical traditions of the Travellers. The members of Bratsch often describe themselves as musical nomads. They employ a variety of styles and trends in their music. The music of the Sinti and Roma in particular forms the core of their repertoire. There are also touches of klezmer, jazz, French chansons, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and East European music.
The band have appeared on around 20 albums throughout their career. Their debut album “Musique de partout” came out. This was followed by a number of other releases as well as collaborations with various bands and musicians. Ione of one of these was the band’s performance of the soundtrack of the movie “Le Mangeur de lune” by French-Chinese director Dai Sijie in 1994. In 1997, Bruno Girard and François Castillio were guest musicians on the album “Phari Mamo” by Hungarian Roma band Ando Drom. A year later, in 1998, “Rien dans les poches” was released to mark the 20th anniversary of Bratsch. It featured a number of very different musicians such as Teddy Vukmirovic, Serge Rosenberg, Stanislav Petkov Panayotov, Angelo Debarre, Ando Drom and Keyvan Chemirani.
Bratsch are one of the most popular live bands ever in the field of world music. The band have performed countless concerts in clubs and festivals all over the world. Their farewell tour in which they will give more than 50 concerts got underway in 2015. Bratsch’s last concert will most likely be on December 26th at the Theatre du Soleil in Paris. After that, the band will be dissolved.
Dan Gharibian - guitar
Bruno Girard - violin, viola
Théo Girard – double bass
Nano Peylet - clarinette
François Castiello - accordion
Discography (excerpt):
1976: Musique de partout
1978: J'aime un voyou, Maman
1981: Live à la Potinière
1988: Notes de voyages
1990: Sans domicile fixe
1991: Transports en commun
1994: Correspondances
1994: Le Mangeur de lune (soundtrack from the movie of the same name by Dai Sijie)
1995: Gypsy music from the heart of Europe
1996: Ecoute ça chérie
1998: Rien dans les poches
1999: On a rendez-vous
2001: La vie, la mort, tout ça...
2003: Nomades en vol (anthology)
2007: Plein du monde
2004: Ensemble depuis 25 ans... ca s'fête (2004)
2011: Urban Bratsch
2013: Brut de Bratsch 1973 - 2013 (incl. DVD)


Text: Robert Lippuner / Gypsy Music Network
Translation: Jamie Davies


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