Fanfare Ciocărlia, Romanian Rromani brass band performed at the Vintage Industrial Bar in Zagreb on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Ever since they took the stage, with their dance rhythms, charismatic performances and virtuoso playing, the band fascinated the audience who danced, loudly exclaimed and applauded with excitement. The relationship with the audience throughout the concert, which lasted over an hour and a half, was at its peak, which is extremely rare to see.
The band is made up of twelve musicians, each of them playing one instrument, and about half of them sing as well, so there were different frontmen exchanging during the concert, which contributed to animation and unpredictability of their performance. Those who love dancing enjoyed the concert the most, of course, however, those who remained composed enjoyed the virtuosity and specificity of the musical expression of the Fanfare. Namely, the musicians often improvised on their instruments themselves, while the rest of the band maintained the rhythm of the songs. At one point even the drummer had his improvised performance, which did not diminish the danceability of their music at all.
The band mostly played songs from their new album Onwards to Mars!, including Shaggy’s classic “Bombastic”, which the Fanfare called “Mista Lobaloba.” Onwards to Mars! as well as their penultimate album Devil’s Tale, are significantly more experimental than their previous albums and are a successful attempt of the band to show their stratification and aptitude to a different musical expression. However, the Fanfare were not afraid of playing classics, such as “Mesečina”, “Lume, lume” and “Born to Be Wild”. When “Mesečina” started, the audience excitedly accompanied the performance with the lyrics of the song which the musicians, being Romanian, did not understand, but enjoyed the enthusiasm of the audience. During the ballad of “Lume, lume”, the saxophonist asked the audience to crouch during the plaintive and virtuous solo performance and to stand up suddenly when the rest of the band joins in with a strong instrumental performance and dance rhythm. By such insistence on audience engagement during performance, they created a relationship with the audience that lasted from the beginning to the end of the concert.
At one point a girl from the audience climbed the stage and started dancing, and the singer from the band reacted very well and started dancing with her. When the security guard came to remove the girl, the singer asked him to let her stay, so the audience once again influenced the concert and contributed to the unforgettable experience it provided, wiping the rigid separation between the performer and the audience. This event describes the concert itself – entertainment, loss of unnecessary self-control and indulging in dance and virtuoso music. The concert was certainly a memorable experience and given the crowded hall it is evident that there is interest in this kind of music in Croatia, which is certainly the basis for the come-back of the band to Croatia.