Fanfare Ciocrlia is a twelvepiece Roma brass band from the northeastern Romania. The band began as a loose assemblage of parttime musicians playing at local weddings and baptisms. In October 1996, the German sound engineer and record producer Henry Ernst visited their village and convinced a number of the musicians there to assemble a touring band. These musicians decided to name the band Fanfare Ciocrlia: Fanfare being a French word that has passed into Romanian and is used to designate a brass band Ciocrlia being the Romanian word for the skylark. Since their discovery by Ernst, who serves as their manager, they have played more than thousand concerts in more than 50 countries across the globe.
Their musical style stems primarily from the traditions of Roma and Romanian folk dance music, but they also borrow freely from Turkish, Bulgarian, Serbian and Macedonian musical styles, and they incorporate a number of tunes gleaned from international radio, Hollywood and Bollywood in their broad repertoire as well. They are best known for a very fast, highenergy sound, with complex rhythms and highspeed, staccato clarinet, saxophone and trumpet solos, sometimes performed at more than 200 beats per minute. They are also known for using no sheet music in their performances, sometimes randomly blasting their horns and clarinets in the middle of a song, and for playing old, battered instruments onstage.
The band won the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Europe in 2006.