Hard-blowing gypsy hurricane
The big cities don't have it all their own way. Just as the small Alabama town of Muscle Shoals is synonymous with soul music, Clejani in southern Romania rules the roost when it comes to producing the best gypsy musicians. As well as being the home turf of the mighty Taraf de Haidouks, it's also produced several members of Mahala Rai Banda, another terrific gypsy band to have emerged from Eastern Europe since the Iron Curtain was pulled back. And while they're the equal of Taraf when it comes to exultant, exuberant playing, they're no mere soundalikes. Where their compatriots largely go for strings and accordion, Mahala's frontline attack is mostly brass and woodwind, a hard-blowing hurricane of trumpets, clarinets and flutes. This is music made to accompany every social occasion - weddings, parties, anything. And from where we're listening, it sounds like every social occasion in and around Clejani is one hell of a celebration.
(Biography written by Nige Tassell 2011)
Photo: Joan Tomas