A little bit klezmer, a little bit rock 'n' roll and a whole lot of dizzyingly tongue-tied Balkan brass (and woodwinds), this Roma (or Gypsy) band has become a continent-hopping emissary of the current Roma music revival. But their origins are a bit humbler. Once upon a time, the 12 musicians of Fanfare Ciocarlia were a loose collective of amateur musicians who spent their spare time playing weddings and baptisms in their small Romanian village of Zece Prajini. Then one day in 1996, a German sound engineer and producer named Henry Ernst showed up in the village, grouped the musicians into a band, named them Fanfare Ciocarlia
(which means the "skylark brass band" in Romanian) and took them on the road with Ernst himself as manager. Soon, Fanfare Ciocarlia was sharing its rapid-fire, rhythmically complex take on Roma folk music (which follows the musical trajectories of the Gypsy diaspora out of Romania and into the rest of the Balkans, Turkey, Spain and even a bit of India) with new fans around the world and winning the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Europe. In 2003, German filmmaker Raif Marschallek released Iag Bari, a documentary about the lives of Fanfare Ciocarlia members.