Fanfare Ciocarlia - Artist Page
Fanfare Ciocarlia
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Photo by Arne Reinhardt

Fanfare Ciocarlia is a Gypsy brass band from Romania. "Sometimes when I tell people I come from Zece Prajini they think I come from the end of the earth. But here, at the end of the earth, is the right place to make music, "says trumpeter Costica "Cirnai" Trifan.

Photo by Arne Reinhardt

Zece Prajini (literally meaning ten fields) is a village of just four hundred souls, surrounded by gentle mountains and dusty tracks. Situated in the east of Romania, it is no more than a stone's throw from the border with the former Soviet republic of Moldova. This area of Romania is known for its rugged seclusion and the stubborn poetry of its inhabitants. In the evenings, when the winds calm down, the sounds of the fanfare echo from the surrounding slopes. This is the home of the twelve Romany Gypsy musicians who make up The Fanfare Ciocarlia brass ensemble.

Photo by Arne Reinhardt

The origins of Romany gypsy brass bands are to be found in the Turkish military bands that emerged at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Then, the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans had a considerable influence that can be clearly heard in the music across Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania.

The art of playing music has been handed down from generation to generation since time immemorial. There is no sheet music. The instruments, bearing the marks of the previous decades, have lost their shine and gained their own patina. On them Fanfare Ciocarlia manage to set off a musical firework display, with an unbelievable talent for intricate rhythms and dizzy tempos. Traditional dances from Romania and rhythms from Turkey, Bulgaria and Macedonia are played on horns, trumpets, clarinets and timpani.

Photo by Michael Dulig

Every weekend the instruments are hauled off to be played at weddings and other ceremonial occasions. They are often played for over thirty hours non-stop. For each different moment in life there is an appropriate piece: geamparale, sirba, hora, and if the mood requires, a racy ruseasca at the end. Back in their village the musicians soothe their sore lips and await their next engagement.

A wonderful symbiosis exists between the older and the younger musicians. There is respectful silence whenever the old master Radulescu Lazar himself reaches for the trumpet and strikes up his wild "Ruseasca lui filon" dance. The younger musicians' eyes still narrow dreamily at these sounds as their fingers nervously caress the valves of their instruments. The older musicians wink tolerantly whenever the younger generation blast new sounds through their horns. Since music cannot "only" be about tradition, they take up current melodies from movies between Bollywood and Hollywood as well as adapting international radio hits to FANFARE ClOCARLIA's very own style.

Fanfare Ciocarlia

The year 2002 saw the release of a road movie for Cinema and TV "Iag Bari - Brass On Fire." Director Ralf Marschalleck from Berlin visualized the two exciting but so different worlds the musicians of the Gypsy Brass Band Fanfare Ciocarlia live in: the tiny Gypsy village Zece Prajini (literally meaning Ten Fields), in Romania, and their life on the big concert stages abroad.

One day they can be playing at a traditional wedding in the neighborhood village and the next day sitting in a plane on the way to Japan. The full length road movie for cinema release features the musicians' lives. The theatrically release took place April 2002. Produced and directed by Ralf Marschallek,, Fax:+49 30 2817564. Distributed by Ventura Film,, Fax: +49 30 2836533.

In 2011, Fanfare Ciocarlia released the Balkan Brass Battle, album. It was recorded across a feverish, sleepless forty-eight hours in a Transylvanian hotel right outside Graf Dracula, the castle of Vlad Tepes. Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban Markovic Orkestar laid down their hottest grooves then shaped up for a battle royal in the studio. The album features Balkan folk tunes, original compositions, a surreal take on ‘Gummy Bear’ from the McDonalds’ Kids Menu, Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan’ and John Barry’s ‘James Bond Theme’.


Romania - Wild Sounds From Transylvania, Wallachia &Moldavia (Network Medien, 1997)

Radio Pascani (Piranha Records PIR 1254, 1998)

Musikanti (VPRO, 1999)

Baro Biao (Piranha Records, 1999)

Iag Bari - The Gypsy Horns from the Mountains Beyond (Piranha Records 2001)

Aco Bocina and Fanfare Ciocarlia (Ponderosa, 2003)

Gili Garabdi (Asphalt Tango, 2005)

Queens & Kings  (Asphalt Tango, 2007)

Live (Asphalt Tango Records, 2009)

Best Of Gypsy Brass (Asphalt Tango Records, 2009)

Balkan Brass Battle (Asphalt Tango Records, 2011)

Management and Booking: Asphalt Tango Production, Address: Asphalt tango Production, Fehrbelliner Str. 24, 10119 Berlin, Germany. Phone: +49-30-285 85 28, Fax: +49-30-285 85 12. E-mail:

Similar Music:
Romanian, Gypsy, Balkan, Brass band