CD Shorts: Adrian Raso and Fanfare Ciocarlia

Devil’s Tale

(Asphalt Tango)

A bat-flocked Gothic background fronts a lady of no discernible virtue and a guitar-packing Old Nick sits astride a cigar-smoking skeleton holding a trumpet. Pictures tell stories, and Devil’s Tale is so hellishly good it will make you believe that the Devil has the best music.

Within Balkan music, Fanfare Ciocarlia (pictured) occupies semi-mythical space analogous to The Bothy Band in Ireland or La Bottine Souriante in Quebec. Theirs is music soaked in Romani brine that often sounds like Gogol Bordello meets a mariachi band. It’s brassy, bold, cyclonic and virtuosic. You need to be good, really good, to keep up with these guys.

Luckily, Canadian guitarist Adrian Raso shares their rakish personality and love of Django Reinhardt. When he lays down a fast lick, it’s like a Gypsy soundtrack for microwave popcorn.

Throw what you know about time signatures out the window, along with the furniture; you’ll need room to flop, flail, and dance with the musical demons partying in your head.


Author: Rob Weir

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