Fanfare Ciocărlia is a twelve-piece Romanian Romani Balkan brass band from the northeastern Romanian village of Zece Prăjini, Iași. The band is made up of Roma musicians, and they are recognised as one of Europe’s most popular contemporary Romani bands. Fanfare Ciocărlia are best known for its fast, high-energy music with complex rhythms and high-speed staccato clarinet, saxophone and trumpet solos. Fanfare Ciocărlia’s music includes traditional Romanian, Romani, and Eastern European folk pieces, as well as arrangements of Western songs including Born To Be Wild, James Bond Theme, Caravan, and Summertime. The band performed at the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The band plays on the soundtrack of the 2020 movie Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Truth be told, I was scared. We’ve stuffed a lot of musicians behind the Tiny Desk, but when I saw Fanfare Ciocarlia (pronounced “fan-FAR-eh cho-car-LEE-ah”) at Globalfest the week before the band arrived at NPR, I couldn’t fathom how we’d corral these 12 musicians and their various assorted horns and drums into that truly tiny space.
But the day this joyous Balkan brass band from the Romanian village of Zece Prăjini came to play, it was one of the happiest days I’ve experienced at our new building. From wedding songs to American rock ‘n’ roll to the occasional James Bond theme, the group plays at a pace that would make the Ramones burst into a sweat. When you get hooked and want more, find Fanfare Ciocarlia’s new record, Devil’s Tale. It will help make your parties the stuff of blissful memories. –BOB BOILEN
“Sirba De La Monastirea”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Olivia Merrion; photo by Jim Tuttle/NPR