Fanfara Tirana: Albanian Wedding: Brass Explosion
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Fanfara Tirana
Albanian Wedding: Brass Explosion
Piranha (www.piranha.de)

Divided between the isolationist stronghold of Stalinoid Albania and the former Yugoslavian territories of Kosovo and Macedonia, Albanians draw on a miscellany of cultural influences that have converged historically in the Adriatic and Asia Minor, including Slavic, Bulgarian, Turkish, and Italian strains, and the religious sway of Islam, Catholicism, and Greek Orthodoxy. As elsewhere in the Balkans, vocal polyphonic traditions, woodwind ensembles, and the military brass bands of the Ottoman era constitute enduring influences. Following the Soviet demise, veterans of the Armed Forces Band formed Fanfara Tirana, a wailing 11-piece ensemble that combines hot brass, swooping reeds, frenetic dance and melancholic vocal music (with guest Hysni Zela, former master singer of the National Folk Song and Dance Ensemble), in the intensely evocative confab heard here. - Michael Stone

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