Fanfare Ciocarlia album


(Asphalt Tango/Planet)


onwards-resSome music is so well-mannered as never to jar polite sensibilities, and then there’s the stuff made by Balkan Gypsy brass bands. Politeness be damned: their music must provoke dancing and fill the heart with joy, or make that same heart bleed with desolation. Not that Fanfare Ciocarlia, the 13-piece Romanian Gypsy band that lit up the 2009 Sydney Festival, bothers too much with the sad stuff. Here song after song explodes into life like rashly opened champagne, with blasting brass, skirling saxophones, relentless percussion and vocals that can sound like a race call.

Among this album’s repertoire are several pieces penned by the Israeli cross-genre guru Koby Israelite, and a version of Screaming J Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You that seems made to measure. The traditional numbers include the token tear-jerker, Doina pentru un frant inima, with alto saxophone carrying that unmistakable Middle-Eastern – or as the Roma call it, “Oriental” – flavour. It’s all mad and raucous, and if they don’t quite match Goran Bregovic’s band, who does?