Awards 2017 Winner

Europe

Fanfare Ciocarlia
Onwards to Mars! on Asphalt Tango

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One of the world's most exhilaratingly raucous brass bands, Fanfare Ciocarlia celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2016 and marked the occasion with a groundbreaking album of energy and ingenuity that dug deep into their rural Balkan Gypsy heritage while reflecting a range of other genres and styles that they have absorbed on their nomadic travels around the globe.

Click to listenHailing from the remote village of Zece Prajini in north-east Romania, the 12-piece band learned their craft at the feet of their fathers and grandfathers, but their music remained a well-kept secret until Henry Ernst, a young German music fan, wandered into the village in 1996 and discovered a living tradition rooted in the ancient Ottoman tradition of brass bands, which had long died out in much of the rest of Romania. By the following year, Fanfare Ciocarlia were touring Europe and thrilling audiences with their earthy brass grooves played at breakneck speed. On Onwards to Mars! they mix riotous new versions of Balkan standards with a cover of'I Put a Spell on You' sung by Gypsy blues singer Iulian Canaf, seven tunes written by Koby Israelite and even a spicy flavouring of cumbia.

By Nigel Williamson