Fanfare Ciocărlia, a Romani twelve-piece Balkan Brass Band hailing from northeastern Romania, recently performed in Melbourne. For just a little while, Hamer Hall echoed with the band’s contagious gypsy-style wedding music and the audience found it impossible to sit quietly in their seats.
Once only known in Romania, the group was discovered by chance by a German sound engineer and record producer Henry Ernst back in 1996. Since then, Ernst has become their manager, and together they have travelled the world, with the group playing 1,500 concerts in over 50 countries and recording nine albums.
Fanfare Ciocărlia's instruments includes trumpets, tenor and baritone horns, tubas, clarinets, saxophones, bass drum and percussion, but that’s where the similarity to a traditional horns and percussion band ends, because the music produced by the group plays – without sheet music – at the insane speed of 200 beats per minute. Although for the most part, the artists sing in Romani or Romanian, the language barrier is never an issue during the entire performance, because their music is so incredibly infectious and appealing.
From the moment they walked onto the stage, Fanfare Ciocărlia did not stop. For that matter, they did not stop even when they walked off the stage, continuing the party going in Hamer Hall’s atrium. Had they carried their instruments onto the street, the audience would have followed them even into oncoming traffic, dancing the night away.
Unfortunately Fanfare Ciocărlia performed one night only whilst in Melbourne, but if ever the chance presents itself to see this amazing Romani band, run, don’t walk, to buy tickets for the most electrifying night ever.
Arts Centre Melbourne by arrangement with Arts Projects Australia present
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
Date: 10 March 2015
Tickets: $30 – $84