Somewhere in the northeast of Romania, near the Moldovan border, a pothole-strewn and seemingly endless road winds among the hills, past houses that Chagall must have scattered randomly across the landscape. Here we arrive at the birthplace of one of the most stunning modern phenomena in wind music, Zece Prăjini. This is the birthplace of Fanfare Ciocărlia whose story began in 1996 with the coming together of twelve musicians. From here, they have conquered the world with deep throated blasts from tubas and tenor horns mixed up in a wild cacophony of trumpets and saxophones. The joyful power of Eastern European brass music was unleashed upon the world 25 years ago, and they are celebrating this anniversary with their current tour, which includes the House of Music Hungary.
As early as 1998, the lead trumpeter Radulescu signalled the serious nature of their mission when their first album was released: "just you wait and see – one day we will play on Mars!" Even if we will have to wait a bit for that, the great band has toured millions of kilometres and, of course, we have been entertained by their lively music in Hungary on several occasions. The unrivalled genius of Fanfare Ciocărlia is the way they spice up Balkan brass with elements of jazz, pop and rock, all performed with insane precision and at breakneck speed. Their cult status has not only been established on major world music stages, but Ciocărlia has also become a household name in music venues that range in style from punk to classical. After thousands of concerts and nine studio albums, Fanfare Ciocărlia was at the peak of its career when the pandemic brought a temporary halt to its concert life, but many of the band's fans have actively supported them both financially and with words of encouragement to help them complete the long-planned 25th anniversary album. The result is It Wasn't Hard to Love You, a musical ode to the legions of Fanfare fans. "It's the latest chapter in the story of a big band from a small village, a band that wants to put a smile on people's faces, and a band that wants a future full of long, exciting concerts that stretch into the night."
The Budapest leg of the jubilee tour is set to be another night of pure joy, with three members of the local Fanfara Complexa joining in the brass-powered madness.