A gypsy explosion at number 12!
Mahala Rai Banda is a gypsy band based in Bucharest, Romania. It was formed by violinist and composer Aurel Ionitsa, who originally comes from a family of lautari from the village of Clejani. He is related to several members of Taraf de Haïdouks.
The band plays with an array of styles and genres. Romanian violins & accordions are combined with a brass section consisting of army brass band veterans and musicians from Romania’s famous village Zece Prajini – hometown of Fanfare Ciocarlia and a rocking rhythm section. They effortlessly combine a knack for inventive arrangements with an ability to turn every single concert into a wild party.
Their music is positioned right at the crossroads between traditional popular music and club-oriented, so called Balkan Beats – see also Robert Soko’s “Balkan Beats Soundlab” at number 99. This rich blend of sophisticated arrangements, traditional elements and modern outlook puts them in a unique position among all the current bands.
Mahala Rai Banda’s second album “Ghetto Blasters” was recorded in 2009 in Berlin, Germany and Bucharest, Romania. The album was produced, recorded and mixed by Henry Ernst and Marc Elsner (former productions Fanfare Ciocarlia, Jony Iliev). The album was released on Asphalt Tango Records, in October 2009. The album climbed to position 2 in the World Music Charts Europe and was voted amongst the top ten “Best Albums Of The Year 2009″ by UK’s popular music magazine Songlines – and now number 12 at Top 100 World Music Albums!