Orchestra Mihalache consists of the accordion player Andrei and his two sons George and Meltiade, playing the hammer-beaten stringed instrument Tambal and violin, respectively. They play with that certain drive that has made Gypsy musicians renowned worldwide and made Mihalache a famous and respected name in Rumania. Today, the name Mihalache has become synonymous with good music.
Musicians such as the Mihalaches are known as Lautari in Romania. A Lautar is a professional musician, who lives by playing at weddings and other festive occasions. Therefore, the repertoire is lively and intense. From fast dancing tunes, such as sirbas and horas, to sentimental love songs.
Since this is folk music, it is not learned from a score, but by ear from one musician to another. Traditionally, every time a Lautar plays a melody, he re-interprets it, which means that it sounds slightly different each time.
George and Meltiade have learned the tunes by playing with their father, who learned them from his father, Iancu Ciupitu, and so forth. The mother of the two brothers is from a family of Lautari too.
In the summer 2003 Orchestra Mihalache released their first CD: Tiganii Lautari. The album features age-old Gypsy tunes with fast melodies on violin and accordion on top of the crispy and shuffled rythmic beating of the tambal (a hammered dulcimer), the essential Gypsy instrument of Romania and Hungary. Two tracks feature the mature and highly emotional voice of Andrei Mihalache, a well known and sought after accordionist and singer in Romania. Tiganii Lautari was chosen as one of the five best world music releases in Denmark in 2003 at the Danish World Awards.
Settled in Denmark, George Mihalache has made the tambal well-known through his playing with accordion virtuoso Lelo Nika, who twice won the world championship in accordion playing, and reputable clarinet player Peter Bastian, not to mention numerous gigs with operetta singer Sofie Ottesen.
Orchestra Mihalache is:
George Mihalache: tambal
Meltiade Mihalache: Violin, viola
Andrei Mihalache: Accordeon and voice