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Adrian Raso & Fanfare Ciocarlia (below)
Adrian Raso is a respected guitarist/composer from Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Adrian has recorded two instrumental EPs and six full-length instrumental albums. Black Mamba (2005) showcased Adrian’s stunning versatility and musicianship over a variety of styles, ranging from Gypsy to Latin flavours. Adrian’s work is a fine example of the balance between commercially accepted music that is also readily embraced by the technically minded musician.
In 2006, Adrian released his second full-length all-acoustic album called Tales of a Travelling Bohemian. This fiery, passionate guitar-driven CD accentuates his ease of moving from Middle-Eastern to Mediterranean to Gypsy styles of music.
C’est La Vie (2008) is Adrian’s tribute to Gypsy Swing. These 15 new compositions reflect his love of Django Reinhardt and traditional French Gypsy music. This album was mixed by Nick Blagona (Gypsy Jazz legend Stephane Grapelli).
In 2010, Adrian got back to his scorching hot electric roots with the release of Clean Up The Mess, featuring the drumming of Jeff Consi (Nuno Bettencourt).
In February of 2011 he released the high-energy rockabilly single “Dead Man’s Hand” featuring Lee Rocker (The Stray Cats) on bass and Kevin Figueiredo (Extreme) on drums. This single was mixed by Bob St. John and artwork was created by the incomparable Vince Ray.
Adrian released Nina del Sol in 2011. This record, mixed by multi-platinum and Grammy award-winning producer Bob St. John, highlights many of Adrian's Mediterranean influences, and features guest star performances from the legendary Sheila E. (Prince, Ringo Starr) and drummer Kevin Figueiredo (Extreme).
Adrian has been extremely busy in 2012, releasing the rockabilly-inspired LP Liquor Talkin’ with his electric band, The Big Deal. In addition, Adrian has collaborated with world-renowned Gypsy brass ensemble, Fanfare Ciocarlia. This high-energy recording will surely offer the world an extraordinary musical experience. Special guest performances include John Jorgenson (Elton John) and Rodrigo (Rodrigo y Gabriela). A documentary chronicling the making of this record is being produced by a Canadian filmmaker.
Favourable reviews and critical acclaim have led to Adrian to write original music for independent film and theatre productions, and artist endorsements from Gretsch guitars, Godin Guitars, Gitane Guitars, and Biltmore Hats. Adrian has also been featured in many magazines, on CBC Radio, a Canadian YMCA campaign, and is the proud recipient of an Ontario Arts Council Grant in popular music for 2012-2013. Adrian is considered a guitar virtuoso, an exceptional songwriter, and his jaw-dropping live shows across North America and Europe never fail to impress.
Proceeds from Adrian’s acoustic discs go to the London Children’s Hospital, in memory of his daughter, Ava Amelie. The audiences at these shows are captivated by his superb playing technique, charismatic personality, the opportunity to help support the London Children’s Hospital through CD sales, and of course, by the music.
Fanfare Ciocarlia are one of the world's greatest live bands, their energy and ingenuity having won them fans from Melbourne to Memphis, Tokyo to Toulouse. Having learnt their craft at the feet of their fathers and grandfathers Fanfare's members proudly approach every concert as a challenge to both entertain audiences and keep the true spirit of Gypsy music alive.
When Fanfare Ciocarlia - the brass orchestra from the "hidden" village of Zece Prajini in north-eastern Romania - take the stage the crowd receive 100% Gypsy music. Zece Prajini's isolation - situated in a misty valley, the valley's dirt roads are occupied by flocks of geese and horse and carts; here live eighty Gypsy farming families who live a traditional rural lifestyle dictated by nature's seasons - meant that under communism the village remained hidden from the outside world. Somehow the ancient Ottoman tradition of brass bands accompanying armies, weddings and funerals continued to exist here when it had long died out in the rest of Romania. And when Henry Ernst, a young German music fan, wandered into the village in 1996 he found a living tradition that he knew the world would embrace.
And so they did: Fanfare Ciocarlia - whose name translates as "lark's song" - conquered Europe in 1997, their furious live blast appealing to punks and headbangers, jazz and funk fans, world music aficionados and those who simply love music that sounds absolutely unique. Even the classical world embraced Fanfare Ciocarlia and they have since performed at many prestigious philharmonic halls. The Romanian's breakneck speed, technical chops, ripping rhythms and sweet and sour horns is quite different from any other brass band on earth. Everyone who heard Fanfare Ciocarlia agreed on one thing - no brass band had ever played as fast as this before. Make that two things: no brass band had ever sounded like this before!
Fanfare Ciocarlia went on to conquer the USA, Japan and Australia. The Gypsies may only have spoken their local Romany dialect but their music spoke an international language and audiences responded to their fierce Balkan funk by turning concerts into parties. What Fanfare Ciocarlia played was something new. The Times of London described it as "a heavy, heavy monster sound" and Fanfare's recordings have taken their eerie Balkan groove into dance clubs across the planet.
Along the way Fanfare Ciocarlia have been celebrated by critics and championed in all kinds of media: they star in several films (Ralf Marschalleck's Iag Bari follows the band on tour across Europe while Fatih Akin's Head On has them ripping up Berlin's clubs), own the cover of Princes Amongst Men (Garth Cartwright's acclaimed book on Romany musical culture), were commissioned by Sacha Baron Cohen to cut biker anthem Born To Be Wild for the Borat soundtrack and have been sampled and covered, championed and emulated, by countless DJs, bands and Gypsy orchestras. Their radical reinterpretations of popular Western standards - including the James Bond Theme and Duke Ellington's Caravan - show how the Romanian orchestra effortlessly "Gypsify" any music they get their horns on.
Besides making great music Fanfare Ciocarlia have twice developed brilliant musical theatre - Gypsy Queens & Kings (which brought together many of Europe's greatest Romany musicians) and Balkan Brass Battle (which saw the Romanians face a Serbian orchestra) both toured the world to great acclaim.
Fanfare Ciocarlia have released eight albums, several of which have topped the European World Music charts. Their DVD Brass On Fire was acclaimed by Songlines magazine as "setting a new standard for music documentaries". They have played over 1200 concerts and like to consider themselves "the hardest working band in the blow biz". Put simply: nobody does it better, harder, faster, funkier than Fanfare Ciocarlia.
World Music/Traditional | World Music/Contemporary | Jazz
Balkan Brass Meets Gypsy Jazz Guitar; Adrian Raso Teams Up With Fanfare Ciocarlia
2014 Tour includes performances at GlobalFest (NYC), Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, & Baltimore
Legend has it that the Devil likes to frequent crossroads, cutting deals for souls and spinning his cunning yarns. Yet not all crossroad pacts are diabolical; some are just damned brilliant.
Take the crossroads encounter behind Devil’s Tale, where the eastern force field of Balkan brass meets Gypsy Jazz guitar, as Romania's Fanfare Ciocarlia joins up with Canadian guitarist Adrian...
- New York Music Daily, Album review, 12/26/2013, Adrian Raso and Fanfare Ciocarlia Blast Through Their Devil’s Tale See Text
- Global A Go Go, Album review, 01/01/2014, CD Review See Text
- Midwest Record, Album review, 12/28/2013, 12/28/13 See Text
- Express Milwaukee, Album review, 01/05/2014, Adrian Raso and Fanfare Ciocărlia: Devil’s Tale (Asphalt Tango) See Text
- Boston Globe, Concert preview, 01/08/2014, Article See Text
- World Music Central, Album review, 01/06/2014, A Rip-Roaring Ride Full of Gypsy Jazz and Meaty Balkan Brass See Text
- Inside World Music , Album review, 01/10/2014, CD Review: Adrian Raso and Fanfare Ciocarlia's 'Devils' Tale' See Text
- Detour Radio, Track review, 01/17/2014, Adrian Raso & Fanfare Ciocărlia See Text