Monday, 21 August 2017

A Gang of Romanian Rebels

The Romanian group Taraf de Haïdouks is a mandatory introduction to the Roma culture on the Balkans. Since the beginning of the 1990s, its musicians – a group of Roma from the Central Romanian village of Clejani, aged between 20 and 80, tour European stages like megastars. In their case, the role of Ray Cooder (the guitar player who discovered the Buena Vista Social Club for the world) was played by two Belgians who came upon the band by chance, months after the fall of Ceauşescu’s regime, and predicted its future success in Europe.

After a few concerts in Belgium and the recording of an album under the CramWorld laber, Taraf de Haïdouks quickly topped the European chart for world music, and gathered a large following.

Their cheerful, unrestrained and high-energy music became famous for its specific Turkish sound, mixed with the Indian roots of the Balkans’ Roma.

Through the years, the group members have continued to go back to Clejani, leading their usual daily existence in between concerts: playing at weddings, funerals and christenings. Their recordings, however, evolved and made gypsy music more accessible to and loved by a larger audience, including people who aren’t usually ethno-music fans.

In 2006, Taraf de Haïdouks came out with one of their most interesting albums – Maskarada, in which they “gypsified” classical composers’ works, such as Albeniz's “Asturias”, Ketelbey's “In a Persian Market,” and most of all the Roma-motif based “Dance Suite” by Béla Bartók.




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