Biography: Lache Cercel
Electrifying Romanian violinist, Lache Cercel is on the verge of becoming one of Canada’s next big names on the world music circuit. This year Lache Cercel and the Cercel Roma Swing Ensemble were nominated by the International Folk Alliance as World Artist of the year.
Like the members of the Khac Chi Ensemble, Silk Road Music and other leading figures in Canada’s world music community, Cercel left behind a life as one of his homeland’s premier musicians and chose to settle in Canada. And like the others, he has gone on to study a variety of musical styles and collaborate with musicians from around the world to create a uniquely Canadian musical fusion.
In Cercel’s case, his collaborators include renowned Egyptian percussionist, Adel Awad, noted Vancouver jazz vocalist but Laura Crema and Latin music virtuoso, Sal Fereras. The music is firmly rooted in Roma tradition, styled with Doina Klezmer, Middle Eastern and European sounds, and held together with jazz improvisation. Lache calls his fusion Roma jazz or Roma swing. In the tradition of Django Reinhardt and Stephen Grappelli, Lache lays classical and improvisational jazz alongside traditional renderings, which makes for a phenomenal sound.
Cercel was born in Bucharest, Romania and educated at the country’s academy of the arts. He went on to become the first ever soloist with The Romanian Radio and Television Orchestra, with whom he performed for five years. In 1986, he was awarded the Romanian Government’s “Artist of the People” citation.
He spent his early years in the country doing solo performances around BC and teaching Romanian style violin. For several summers, he made annual teaching trips to the Buffalo Gap International Music Camp in Washington, D.C. and Mendocino Balkan Camp in Mendocino, CA. His early performance highlights include The Victoria Jazz Festival, Mission Folk Festival, the Western Premiers Conference and Victoria First Night Celebrations. Cercel also performed with the Original Balkan Jam, appearing at The Winnipeg Folk Festival and Festival by the Sea in St.John, N.B. He even performed at Disneyland with the Ukranian Ensemble, VASELKA.
In 1994, Cercel returned to Romania to continue his exploration of Romanian music. There, he recorded his debut CD, Rhapsody of Romania with well-known Romanian conductor, Paraschiv Oprea.
He came back to Canada in 1996, settled in Vancouver and began further musical studies at Vancouver Community College. Meanwhile, he’s continued to build his reputation as a solo performer, session musician, and composer of music for film and TV.
In 2003, Cercel’s piece “A Cry for Roma” from Suspino earned him a “Hugo” Gold Plaque from the 39th Chicago International Television Awards in the category of “Special Achievement: Music Score.” Cercel also composed music for the National Film Board documentary “Opre Roma,” and the internationally screened independent film “Noroc”
He guests on the CDs Best Hits from Rasputin on Broadway, Klezmyriad by Tzimmes and The Last Arrow by Nur-Jehan and his music is featured on the Westcoast Sacred Music Festival Compilation ’99.
Cercel has performed at the Victoria and Mission Folk Festivals, Festival by the Sea in St. John and on VTV’s (now CTV’s) Vancouver Breakfast program. In October of 2002, he received a standing ovation for his performance at Djangofest Northwest. In November 2002 he performed at the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse for the opening reception of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and in 2005, he performed for an audience of 1700 people at the NTDTV Chinese New Year Gala in Toronto receiving "Bravo" all around from the audience and the other artists. Lache and the band played at the Chinese New Year Gala NTDTV 2006 Vancouver to a full house with a repeat performance.
Lache is a bandleader who lets every musician shine. He plays with the outrageous virtuosity found in contemporary European Roma recordings, and adds his own vision, relaxing the form somewhat. The musicians play with freedom and the listener feels the strong roots and hears the history of tragedy, struggle and ultimate survival that is part of Roma music.
The Georgia Straight once described a Cercel performance as “impeccable…even flashy.” The Victoria Times Colonist calls him “a phenomenon,” adding “He’s so fast and his sense of timing is so extraordinary...(he’s) one of Victoria’s greatest treasures.”
Critical praise for Lache Cercel
Cercel is something of a phenomenon - Henry Porter, Victoria Today
Moments of haunting delicacy, soaring violin flights of fancy - David Dawes, Monday Magazine
On compilations like “Transylvania” and compositions like “Romanian Rhapsody”, Cercel’s violin whispered down the spine and seared the heart - Mark Tunney, The Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, N.B.
Cercel is a phenomenon. He’s so fast and his sense of timing is so extraordinary...One of Victoria’s greatest treasures - Joseph Blake, Times Colonist, Victoria
So clever is Cercel’s magic, so utterly enchanting his skill... - David Lennam, Victoria News
Polished is also the word for Lache Cercel...the Romanian violinist turned out an...impeccable, even flashy, program of Romani jazz - Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight
Bio, Philosophy and Direction of the Ensemble
The Lache Cercel Ensemble was formed by Lache Cercel after moving to Vancouver, BC in 1997. It is made up of a group of elite musicians that not only play a variety of world music styles, but also have traveled the globe with many other ensembles. The band had always been a blend of each of the musician’s previous musical experiences including Romanian, Latin, Classical, Klezmer, Greek, Middle-eastern, and especially Roma and Jazz. Lache has created an environment where each musician brings out the best in the others. Lache Cercel has a vast knowledge and hands-on experience of European and Roma music styles; Don Ogilvie has extensive backgrounds in jazz and other music as well as music theory. With these skills and their open-minded interest in any kind of music, these 2 musicians have stumbled onto an exciting new music that is not merely a blend of styles but rather a new “in-the-crack” style that is highly personalized to the band. Through many hours of experimentation, they developed new rhythmic, harmonic, stylistic and improvisational techniques inspired by and drawn carefully from the vast pool of world musics. Just as classical composers wrote music for specific instruments, with keys and instrumental techniques especially chosen to best bring the artistic message to the audience, so does The Lache Cercel Ensemble. Just the right key, tempo, rhythmic feel, chord changes, etc. all contribute to express emotions such as sorrow or joy, and also let all the instruments “breathe”, bringing out their natural beauty and unforced sound. The music can best be described as “Roma Swing” (the Real Gypsy-Jazz!) It reflects the tragedy, struggle and survival of the Roma (Gypsy) people and the parallel story encased in the history of jazz. This new music is amply demonstrated on the group’s new CD.
Besides performing around the Vancouver area, The Lache Cercel Ensemble also tour. In 2005, they played to an audience of 1700 in Toronto for the NTDTV Chinese New Year Gala concert which was broadcast globally. “Bravo’s” came from both the audience and the other performers alike.
The ensemble and Lache Cercel are available for performance; composition for performance,sound tracks, independent and motion picture films; tours; special occasions; recording; instruction and workshops.
We are looking at touring Canada and the world in the next two years for global music enhancement of the arts experience and world peace.
What is heard in this EPK are mostly Maestro Lache Cercel's own compositions or renditions of favorites.
We are working on a website which will be at www.lachecercel.ca
The Lache Cercel Ensemble:
Lache Cercel – violin and leader
Don Ogilvie – electric and acoustic guitar, aud
Sam Shoichet – double bass
Supplementary musicians and special guests:
Rebecca Shoichet – principal vocals
Adel Awad – hand percussion
Sal Fereras - Latin drum set
George Feraru – accordion
Marian Jantea (from Romania) – cimbalom
Laura Crema – guest vocals
The band released their latest 2006 CD in record stores across Canada called "Musika Konkordo." It is also available www.festival.bc.ca/jerichobeach/
LP and single - Rhapsody Of Romania
LP - Lache Cercel and The Cercel Roma Swing Ensemble featuring Rebecca Shoichet
LP - The Cercel Ensemble featuring Felicia Costea
LP - 2006 in stores across Canada - Muzika Konkorde - with special guests Adel Awad and Sal Ferares
We are supported by Lotus World Music Management, Jericho Beach Records, Mainstage Management, the Canada Council For the Performaing Arts, and SOCAN.
We are also working on new film sound tracks and compositions for independent film.
Our website is being built. You may find streaming audio by doing a google search of Lache Cercel and then finding Romania's Best and also Musical Occasions. There is also some radio play on the google search.
Cercel is something of a phenomenon.
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On compilations like "Transylvannia" and compositions like "Romanian Rhapsody" Cercel's violin whisp...On compilations like "Transylvannia" and compositions like "Romanian Rhapsody" Cercel's violin whispered down the spine and seared the heart.
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Polished is also the word for Lache Cercel. The Romanian violinist turned out an impeccable, even fl...Polished is also the word for Lache Cercel. The Romanian violinist turned out an impeccable, even flashy program of Romani jazz.
Moments of haunting delicacy, soaring violin flights of fancy.
Cercel is a phenomenon. He's so fast and his sense of timing is so extraordinary.
So clever is Cercel's magic, so utterly enchanting his skill.
Excerpts from press review
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"When he plays the violin, in traditional material, in jazz standards, or in one of his quite astoun..."When he plays the violin, in traditional material, in jazz standards, or in one of his quite astounding medleys of classical, he is passionate, wonderfully at home on the instrument, and clearly a solo entertainer born to be on stage.
His range of performance encompasses the symphonic, the rich musical heritage of the traditional Romanian music laced with European jazz, American stylings, and exuberant musical performances.
Since arriving in Canada, Cercel has been something of an underground hero amoung musicians: players hearing him for the first time are unfailingly amazed, by the integrity, and by the projection.
Cercel, when playing, tears the place apart with his infectious rhythm, and sheer joie-de-vivre in playing the violin."
Hot Club Of Mars
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On violin, Lache Cercel. Lache is a Romanian born, third generation violinist in his family and a tr...On violin, Lache Cercel. Lache is a Romanian born, third generation violinist in his family and a true virtuoso in the music of his culture. I would describe Lache simply as " The Real Thing". In five years of playing music with Lache, I have been constantly astounded time and time again.
Sam Shoichet on bass. Sam is a journeyman bassist, at home in just about any type of band, his bass skills include bowing and the "slam" technique. He is a parttime graphics designer by day.
Don Ogilvie on lead guitar. Don has played guitar since age ten or so, and has played it all at one time or another in his life. His mastery of just about any style of jazz is formidable, but never so much as when he is playing Hot Club style.
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Lache Cercel and The Cercel Roma Swing Ensemble (Jericho Beach Music) Romania's loss has been Can...Lache Cercel and The Cercel Roma Swing Ensemble (Jericho Beach Music)
Romania's loss has been Canada's gain.Lache Cercel was one of Romania's leading violinist before immigrating here in the eraly 1990's, bringing a love of his homeland's traditional folk music and fascination with klezmer, Middle Eastern sounds and jazz.
It all comes together in this collection of original tunes, most of them written by Cercel and many of them stamped with swing. Cercel's violin mesmerizes throughout the disc, dark and tragic minute and soaring fancifully the next. And while Cercel's classical training can probably be thanked for his musical sublety, it's the instinctive charm of his light, sure touch that resonates longest.
Backing Cercel are the guitars, oud,accordion, and other instruments of his ensemble, while Rebecca Schoichet takes a memorable vocal turn on Egyptian Girl.
Playing with the stars in their eyes
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Ask the stirring and bewitching Roma violinist Lache Cercel about the constrast between his first g... Ask the stirring and bewitching Roma violinist Lache Cercel about the constrast between his first glimpses of 1987 Canada and the communist-ruled Romania of Nicolae Ceausescu he had just left behind, and the words he reaches for are "light" and "colourful."
Our set list varies depending on the requirements of the show.If it is required we play music according to the requirements of the show.
Our sets vary in length depending on the requirements. From 15 mins. to 2 hours.
Our typical repertoire will cover either jazz, folk, world traditional or classical music. These are pieces mastered from a variety of cultures and musical genres from around the world plus our own compositions. They are for any type of setting from dances, weddings, festivals, Galas, movie themes, documentaries, radio, TV and a number of types of requirements.
We might play Noroc Swing, Memory To Grappelli,Sweet Georgia Brown, Greek Klezmer, Gallop, Rhapsody Of Romania, etc. Sometimes we quest dancers.
We also hold a number of workshops and teach in a variety of settings. This includes individual instruction, university instruction, conferences, etc. State what you want and we can adapt.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.