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by Various Artists
Balkan Brass Battle by Various Artists
Released: Jul 2011
Label: Asphalt Tango Records
Balkan Brass Battle hinges on a pretty genius concept: pit the day's leading Gypsy bands against each other, onstage. That's what Serbia's Markovic Orchestra and Romania's Fanfare Ciocarlia have been touring Europe doing, and now we have the recorded version. The "fight" is fierce: the father/son-led Markovics swagger through their poppier fare, while Ciocarlia's strategy is more focused on disorienting the "enemy" with dizzying runs ("Dances from the Monastery Hills" makes "Flight of the Bumblebee" sound like a middle-aged moth). When it comes to kitsch, the sides are equally matched.
Rachel Devitt
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