fanfare ciocarlia 1Fanfare Ciocarlia is the name of a Roma brass band from the village Zece Prajini in Romania. Originally, the group was just a traditional village band, but since their discovery by Berlin sound engineer and music manager Henry Ernst in 1996, they have released numerous CDs and have evolved into one of the most successful Balkan brass bands ever.
As in many remote villages of eastern Romania, brass music in Zece Prajini can also look back on a centuries-old tradition. The bands here are called “fanfare” and they play at weddings and other types of festivities. The music they play goes back to the martial music of the Ottoman period, which can easily be heard on the oriental-sounding melodies. Characteristic for the music of this region and for Fanfare Ciocarlia are the extremely rapid, high staccato tempo of sometimes more than 200bpm and the ultra-fast and crazy trumpet and clarinet runs. Lyrics are sung in Romani and Romanian.
In 1997, the band played for the first time in Germany. In fact, it was their first concert ever outside of Romania. The concert was a huge success and they then decided to record a CD. In 1998, their first album “Radio Pascani” came out on the German world music Label Pirhana Records. Other highly successful albums followed, as well as concerts and tours all around the globe. In addition to all the countries in Europe, the band have travelled to Japan, Australia and the USA and performed at the most renowned music festivals in the world.
Throughout their career, Fanfare Ciocarlia have collaborated with other bands and musicians a number of times. In memory of the deceased founder of the band, leader and clarinettist Ioan Ivancea, they released the album “Queens and Kings” in 2007, inviting Roma musicians from all over Europe to participate. These included Saban Bajramovic from Serbia, Esma Redzepova from Macedonia, Jony Iliev from Bulgaria and Kaloome from France. The result was a concert project “The Gypsy Queens and Kings” in which more than 20 Roma musicians from different countries were involved and where concerts were given all over the world. Another project was the “Balkan Brass Battle” with the Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar from Serbia. A CD of the same title was released in 2011 followed by a large-scale and very successful concert tour with both bands. As the name suggests, the bands face off for a battle against each other. And it is up to the audience to decide who is the winner! All with a wink of the eye, of course!
In 2013, the album “Devil’s Tale” was released on which Fanfare Ciocarlia worked together with Canadian guitarist and gypsy jazz musician Adrian Raso.
Current Members:
Paul Marian Bulgaru
Constantin Șulo Călin
Constantin Pînca Cântea
Nicolae Ioniță
Daniel Ivancea
Laurențiu Mihai Ivancea
Oprică Ivancea
Rădulescu Lazăr
Costică Cimai Trifan
Monel Gutzel Trifan
Costel Gisniac Ursu
1998 Radio Pascani (Piranha Records)
1999 Baro Biao – World Wide Wedding (Piranha Records)
2001 Iag Bari – The Gypsy Horns from the Mountains Beyond (Piranha Records)
2005 Gili Garabdi – Ancient Secrets of Gypsy Brass (Asphalt Tango Records)
2007 Queens and Kings (Asphalt Tango Records)
2009 Live (Asphalt Tango Records)
2011 Balkan Brass Battle – Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra vs Fanfare Ciocarlia (Asphalt Tango Records)
2013 Devil’s Tale (with Adrian Raso) (Asphalt Tango Records)


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


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