Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Review - Fanfare Ciocarlia: Queens and Kings

When seen live, as at last year's World Music awards (where they celebrated their victory in the Europe category), Fanfare Ciocarlia are extraordinary. One of the great Gypsy bands from Romania, they match furious rapid-fire drumming and brass with exuberant songs that would surely topple over if attempted by lesser players. It's hard to capture such energy in a recording, but this is a brave attempt to present the Fanfare sound on what is also a Gypsy super-group session. The band are joined by a whole batch of celebrity singers from across the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and France, including the exuberant Macedonian Esma Redzepova and the powerful Serbian Saban Bajramovic. But it's the furious brass work and the intriguing, playful blend of European and Asian themes with jazz or rock that makes them special. There are even echoes of Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild.
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