Taraf De Haidouks

Ever since the release of their first album in 1991 and their appearance in Tony Gatlif's influential Latcho Drom film, TARAF DE HAIDOUKS have been considered as the epitome of Gypsy musics fabulous vitality. Apart from relentlessly touring around the globe, the group has engaged in a series of interesting collaborations: recordings and concert performances with Kronos Quartet, participation as models-cum-musicians in fashion designer Yohji Yamamotos Paris and Tokyo shows, onscreen appearance alongside Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci in Sally Potter's The Man Who Cried (for the soundtrack of which they recorded five pieces) etc. Meanwhile, the band members seem to have been relatively unaffected by all humdrum, they've retained their sense of humour and their way of life (they still reside in their modest village of Clejani, in the Valachian countryside)

On "MASKARADA", their brand-new album, the Taraf de Haidouks tackle classical music!

In the early 20th century, many composers drew their inspiration from national folklore, often borrowing from Roma musicians to create their own vision of an exotic and largely imaginary Orient. Things have now been turned around, as one of the world's leading Gypsy bands have taken hold of classical pieces by Bartok, Khachaturian, Albeniz & more, and have "re-gypsyfied" them, giving them an exhilarating make-over. Starting out in a concert hall, Maskarada takes us through various stages which inevitably lead back to the type of repertoire for which the Taraf de Haïdouks are known and loved. We first imperceptibly move into a cabaret, where Gypsy musicians have long been adapting classical pieces to entertain their audiences during the early hours of the night. We're treated to a piece featuring distinguished singer/cymbalum player Virginica Dumitru (the first-ever female Taraf guest instrumentalist) and to an interpretation "Les Portes de la nuit" (written by French composer Kosma for the soundtrack of the eponymous 1946 film by Marcel Carné). The mood gradually heats up and the album closes on a wild finale.

Their previous two releases are "THE CONTINUING ADVENTURES OF TARAF DE HAIDOUKS" (DVD+CD), and the "BAND OF GYPSIES" album, which was recorded in Bucharest during three special concerts. Always eager to expand the scope of their music, the best Gypsy band in the world (as described by UK daily The Independent) had decided to confront their styles to those of other Balkan countries by inviting Gypsy virtuoso musicians from Macedonia (the Koçani Orkestar brass band), Bulgaria (clarinet player Filip Simeonov) and Turkey (percussionist Tarik Tuysuzoglu) to join them on stage. The result is a series of exciting mixtures in which magical moments abound. The various singers and soloists were in top form and particularly galvanized by the importance of the event. These were indeed the bands first ever concerts in the Romanian capital: after ten years of international success the Taraf were still not recognized in their own country (maybe because they were perceived as Gypsies rather than as musicians). Here's what number 1 fan Johnny Depp has to say: "I met them during the shooting of "Man who Cried". For me they are a model in the way they approach life. Despite all that they went through - I'm talking about racism against gypsies which went on for centuries and still exits today - these guys can play a music which express the most intense joy. They have this gift to make you feel alive. They are among the most extraordinary people I ever met"

Taraf De Haidouks also played at...