After explosive appearances at Wychwood, Big Chill, Cambridge Folk and Womad festivals,
Mahala Rai Banda return with their high voltage live show to their first UK tour this October
Hailing from Romania, Mahala Rai Banda embody the explosive energy of Gypsy music with their euphoric, brass laden sound and high energy performances. An 11-piece band that blends frenzied Balkan brass with mischievous violin & accordion melodies, they have earned a reputation for their electric live shows and infectious, raucous compositions.
Formed on the streets of Bucharest, Mahala Rai Banda’s sound is 21st Century Gypsy music: a tradition sensibility married with the contemporary. Mahala Rai Banda’s unique Eastern groove evolved in the mahalas (Gypsy ghettos) on the outskirts of the Romania’s ruined capital city where musicians from the southern village of Clejani (home to legendary Gypsy orchestra Taraf De Haidouks) jammed with brass musicians from the Moldavian village of Zeci Prajine (home to Balkan brass blasters Fanfare Ciocarlia).
Very quickly, their reputation spread throughout Bucharest and as Romanian Gypsies traveled into Western Europe following the release of their first album, Mahala Rai Banda (Crammed Disc, 2005) the band’s legend spread. In 2007 the seminal remix by respected European producer Shantel, of their song “Mahalageasca” became a youtube hit after being featured on the Borat film and soundtrack.
In 2009 Mahala Rai Banda released Ghetto Blaster (Asphalt Tango, 2009). This record saw them soar to new heights, exploring the sonic architecture of jamaican dub and fusing it with their exceptional brass, rhythm and string workouts. They have been recently referred as ‘Bellowhead, if Bellowhead were Romanian!’.
Two songs from their performances at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2011 were included in the DVD Highlight of the Cambridge Folk Festival. Mahala Rai Banda have recently recorded a live session for BBC6Music show Cerys Matthews to be broadcast within the next few weeks.
‘…If only our Western pop were like this…’ The Scotsman
‘They give ‘ghetto-blasting’ an exhilarating new meaning’ The Independent
‘They kicked serious brass arse, making the crowd feel like they’d gate-crashed the Romanian wedding of the year’ TheArtsdesk.com
‘Mahala Rai Banda play rough-edged, cheek-puffing Balkan brass, full of larger-than-life energy. Enjoy the party!’ **** Evening Standard
‘Fast and furious dance floor work-outs with a rock-solid uptempo groove, frenetic horn riffs and punchy Roma scat singing’ ****Songlines