Monday, 21 August 2017

Eclectic Gypsy Brass, Bulgarian Version

Text by Margarita Borisova   
Brass Orchestra Karandila | Cyclops Camel | Messechina Music, 2005

Europe first discovered the brass band Karandila five years ago, when the film Gypsy Summer by Bulgarian director Milan Ognyanov came out. Ever since, the band from the southern Bulgarian town of Sliven has been victoriously touring the continent’s music scenes, managing to leave the otherwise over-satiated West European music fan breathless from dancing.

The band’s repertoire is offered in the context of the country, the venue and the local preferences, and it is stylistically diverse. Very diverse. Build up over the years.

Thanks to the experience and impressions accumulated over the years, Karandila are able to come up with a programme that is not at all characteristic of the average Balkan Gypsy brass band. In 2002, they participated in the staging of Countess Maritza at Vienna’s Staatsoper. This experience added to their music’s variety and widened their development.

All this is visible in their 2005 project named Cyclops Camel. The CD is a short story, made up of ten events, about the experiences and the wanderings of the band. There are pieces in it by the US-based Bulgarian jazz musician Milcho Leviev – Selski Tants, the Serbian music idol Šaban Bajramović – Yek Disajlin, as well as Cyclops Camel by the Bulgarian theatre director Boyko Bogdanov. All of these songs have been arranged especially for the band by its leader, Angel Tichaliev.

Angel Tichaliev’s various interests bring an Afro mood to the Gypsy Afrobeat at the beginning, help Maya’s vocals to stand out in the traditional Djelem Djelem and Ache Pene and take you on a walk beyond the Balkans with Kyuchek Stockholm. The vocals of Anita Christy have powerful emotional impact in Yek Disajlin (One Morning).

There are also special quests featured in the album, of course: the clarinetist Ivo Papazov and Misho Yosifov are a pleasure to listen to in Sofiyski tants.

The booklet of the CD is sunny and joyful – under every song, there is a short entertaining note about an event, an attitude or a mood in the band’s life. The collage on the inside of the cover gives a vague idea about the impact that Karandila’s music has on people. (Of course, it is better to experience it live!) And in the case of this CD, the overall feeling one gets is that of brightness.

In Bulgaria, you can purchase this CD from Dyukyan Meloman – the little store in the basement of 7A “6 Septemvri” Street, which has established itself as an institution for local lovers of non-commercial music.




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