Fanfare Ciocărlia: Ciocărlia
Fanfare Ciocarlia Live (Asphalt Tango 2309)
Ioan Ivancea (clarinet), Oprica Ivancea (alto sax), Dan Ivancea (alto sax), Radulescu Lazar (trumpet), Pancirel Constandache (trumpet), Costica Trifan (trumpet), Monel Trifan (bass tuba), Constantin Cantea (bass tuba), Laurentiu Mihai Ivancea (baritone horn), Constantin “Pinca” Cantea (tenor horn), Nicolae Ionita (percussion), Costel Ursu (large drum).
Composed and arranged by Adrian Sical.
Recorded: Live at Kesselhaus der Kulturbrauerei, Berlin, April 4, 2004 (CD released in 2009)
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
"Ciocărlia" translates as "Skylark," but if you're expecting the Hoagy Carmichael standard, you've bought the wrong CD. Instead, imagine what the Dirty Dozen Brass Band would sound like if its members had grown up in northeastern Romania instead of New Orleans. This twelve piece band from the village of Zece Prăjini started out as a group of regulars who played at weddings and other festive occasions. Since then they have gone on to bigger things, most notably an appearance in the film Borat, where they performed the (traditional Romanian folk song?) "Born to be Wild." The band is heavily steeped in the Roma tradition and borrows freely from Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia too, as well as adapting occasional jazz elements. Their trademark is an ensemble sound that is on the brink of veering out-of-control, coupled with a raw energy that can be felt waiting impatiently in the background even during those rare moments of brass restraint. The horn tones remind me of how string players articulate their notes and phrases, and the result is distinctive aural personality unlike any you will encounter stateside. But the hook here is the party mood, which is upbeat and unrelenting.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia