A wild sound, perfected over centuries

While everybody else was checking out the Borat DVD, which came out last week, we picked up Queens and Kings (just out), the new release from Fanfare Ciocarlia.

We first heard Fanfare — a Gypsy brass band from Romania — on the Borat soundtrack, most memorably playing its loud, lusty, make-you-smile cover of “Born to Be Wild.” On Queens and Kings, Fanfare proves the Borat single wasn’t a fluke. This is traditional music that sounds strikingly contemporary.

For Queens and Kings, Fanfare recorded with artists from across Europe, bringing in flamenco guitars and Macedonian accordion funk. And the terrific “Duj Duj,” featuring Hungarian singer Mitsou, could be a Gypsy remix of a Nelly Furtado song.

Much pop music of the moment — Arcade Fire’s massive ensemble, Beirut’s Gulag Orkestra — borrows from the Gypsy tradition, but we find it more exciting to hear the fun, unself-conscious, slightly insane real thing.

“>HEAR Fanfare Ciocarlia’s cover of “Born to Be Wild”

“>BUY Fanfare Ciocarlia’s Queens and Kings at iTunes

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. A wild sound, perfected over centuries