Karandila Gypsy Brass Orchestra

Karandila Gypsy Brass Orchestra


...and then the landscape explodes with a brass band that is three parts Gypsy, one part gospel shout and a dash of New Orleans second line. The Karandila, an ensemble of brass, woodwinds and drums rips through a modern Gypsy style tinged with American jazz, Balkan folk and unnamable other elements


Karandila Orchestra was formed in 1994 and its debut performance was at Romfest, in Stara Zagora/Bulgaria, in the same year. The orchestra was named after a place called Karandila (the word is of Turkish origin), which is a beautiful park area near Sliven.

The orchestra's source of musical inspiration includes a repertoire of oriental, Arabic and Turkish tunes introduced to Bulgaria by Ottoman military orchestras, as well as Armenian and Karakachani melodies. However, its greatest influence is Balkangypsy and traditional Bulgarian music. The goal of the founder of the orchestra, a popular trumpet player from Sliven, Angel Tichaliev was to revive the spirit of traditional Bulgarian brass bands and at the same time revolutionize the traditional sound by adding a hint of the modern.

Today Karandila’s sound is one which is diverse and includes a wide range of styles and may lead one to believe that the origins of the marching bands of New Orleans are rooted in Balkan music. However its melodies are rich in compositions that include some Bebop, lots of Swing and strong oriental groove. The rise of Karandila was swift. Its music was successfully presented by Milan Ognyanov for the documentary film “Gypsy Summer” co-produced by the French Canal+. In 1999 the orchestra took part in the prestigious “Jazz Across The Border“ Festival in Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. In 2000 it took part in the Italian leg of Goran Bregovic’s European tour. Soon after the orchestra played in and toured almost every European country, from Antwerp to Prague and from Stockholm to Palermo. It represented Bulgaria in such prestigious festivals as “Europalia 2002 Bulgaria” in Belgium in the autumn of 2002, where the orchestra gave no less than seven performances.

In 2002 the popular and talented singer Anita Christy joined the orchestra. (Anita is the niece of the legendary Bulgarian clarinet player Ramadan Lolov, who was one of the first Bulgarian musicians to record traditional Bulgarian music on a 78rpm shellac plate).

Karandila plays original music from which popular musicians such as Goran Bregovic and Boban Markovic have drawn inspiration. Listeners will be inspired by the originality and wholesomeness of the band’s sound. In 2007 Karandila joined the Austrian pop star Hubert von Goisern in his Linz 2009 European Capital of Culture promotional tour and organised joint concerts in Bulgaria with the top German brass band the famous Mardi Gras BB.


Djelem, Djelem [Romani] song lyrics

Written By: lyrics by Zarko Jovanovic

Gelem Gelem lungone dromenca,
Maladilem chorore romenca.
Gelem Gelem lungone dromenca,
Maladilem baxtale romenca.

Ooo, romalen,
Ooo, chavralen.

Ala voliv lake kale jakha,
Kaj si gugle sar duj kale drakha.
Ala voliv lake kale jakha,
Kaj si gugle sar duj kale drakha.

Ooo, romalen,
Ooo, chavralen.

Kindem lake lolo dikhlo tursko,
Ni volil man achel latar pusto.
Kindem lake lolo dikhlo tursko,
Ni volil man achel latar pusto.

Ooo, romalen,
Ooo, chavralen.

Translation by Ron Lee

I have travelled over long roads
I have met fortunate Roma
I have travelled far and wide
I have met lucky Roma

Oh, Romani adults, Oh Romani youth
Oh, Romani adults, Oh Romani youth

Oh, Roma, from wherever you have come
With your tents along lucky roads
I too once had a large family
But the black legion murdered them
Come with me, Roma of the world
To where the Romani roads have been opened
Now is the time - stand up, Roma,
We shall succeed where we make the effort.

Oh, Roma adults, Oh, Roma youth
Oh, Roma adults, Oh, Roma youth


"Na Kupon s Karandila" - Diapason Records, 1998
"Gypsy Summer - Tales of Surviving" - (p) Kuker Music, 1999; (c) Messechina Music, 2008
"Niama ne iskam..." - ARA Audio-Video/Diapason Records, 2000
"Revolution" - (p) W.G.Jurjans, 2004
"Cyclops Camel" - (p)+(c) Messechina Music, 2006/2008

"Na Kupon s Karandila"
Diapason Records, 1998
Local release - out of print

"Gypsy Summer - Tales of Surviving"
(p) Kuker Music, 1999; (c) Messechina Music, 2008
OST from the documentary by Milan Ognianov
Featuring Karandila Brass Orchestra and Anita Christy

This CD presents music from the film "Gypsy Summer -Tales of Surviving", directed by Milan Ognianov. The film is about a journey through the life of gypsies - "the children of fire and love", as put by Anita Christy, gypsy singer and guide in the camera ravings on the road in Bulgaria. The songs are a powerful reverberation of the misery as well as joy of the gypsy people who have always been persecuted and have found in music there ethnic identity and determination to survive. This musical "gypsy summer" represents a colourful mixture of fiery music, involving musicians of different ages, (5 to 75) coming from different corners of Bulgaria, as well as combining various genres and styles (from Anita Christy's European ballad and romance, to a more Balkan and Oriental mood found in the music of the Karandila Orchestra). Anita's duende, the vibrations of her deep and sensual voice might well rival with the sweet sound of the not-so-popular-in-Bulgaria cymbal, played by Mutzi Aivazov (aged 75). Similarly, Ventzislav Takev's "golden violin" meets the lively rhythms of the Karandila Brass Orchestra from Sliven, headed by trumpet player Angel Tichaliev, a descendant from a long line of famous musicians. "With its drum beats reverberating the "second line" rhythms of New Orleans jazz, Karandila celebrates a Balkan music, which makes you believe jazz was not invented in America, but at Balkan weddings" - as Mr. Guenther Huesmann, German critic and artistic director of the Berlin "Jazz Across The Border" Festival enthusiastically remarked. The result is a sparkling mix of Balkan fusion, Oriental kyuchek and overseas jazz, which takes you to another dimension - that of the ever-bustling gypsy funfair...

"Niama ne iskam..."
ARA Audio-Video/Diapason Records, 2000
Local release - out of print

"Revolution - Karandila gypsy brass orchestra presents worldvilage songs of fights and revolution"
(p) W.G.Jurjans, 2004

Bulgarian brass band Karandila doesn’t confine itself to a perfect performance of traditional wedding music. An explosive, celebratory mixture evolves when they cast an eye on New Orleans and Memphis and pick up fiery funk and bebop. In the Revolution album Karandila in a quite unusual way picks the popular worker and revolutionary songs turning them into dancehall hits. We can hear the irony in there version of Die Internationale or the deadly seriousness when playing Hasta Siempre (Commandante Che Guevera). The album have turned Karandila's music into a favored pick for antiglobalist dance parties.

"Cyclops Camel"
(p)+(c) Messechina Music, 2006
remastered edition - 2008

Thanks to the experience and impressions accumulated over the years, Karandila are able to come up with a programme that is not at all characteristic of the average Balkan Gypsy brass band. In 2003, they participated in the staging of Countess Maritza at Vienna’s Volksoper. This experience and years of touring added to their music’s variety and widened their development.

All this is visible in their 2005 project named Cyclops Camel. The CD is a short story, made up of ten events, about the experiences and the wanderings of the band. There are pieces in it by the US-based Bulgarian jazz musician Milcho Leviev - Peasant dance, the Serbian music idol Saban Bajramovic - Yek Disajlin, as well as Cyclops Camel by the Bulgarian theatre director Boyko Bogdanov. All of these songs have been arranged especially for the band by its leader, Angel Tichaliev.

Angel Tichaliev's various interests bring an Afro mood to the Gypsy Afrobeat at the beginning, help Maya's vocals to stand out in the traditional Djelem Djelem and Ache Pene and take you on a walk beyond the Balkans with Stockholm Kyuchek. The vocals of Anita Christy have powerful emotional impact in Yek Disajlin (One Morning).

There are also special quests featured in the album, among them the famous clarinetist Ivo Papasov (*Winner BBC 2005 World Music Audience Award!) a pure pleasure to listen to in Sofian dance.

The new 2008 edition of this album comes with a remastered sound and includes hidden track where you can here Ivo Papasov talking with the clarinet player from Karandila and a bonus track brilliantly arranged by Angel Tichaliev instrumental version of Ache Pene.


I-Wolf & Burdy meet the Babylonians (Klein Records, 2004)

If you ever wondered what you might get if you crossed I-WOLF f

Set List

Karandila's signature sound is unmistakable and very energetic. Overall, they have a well coordinated and "orchestral" sound. Program is approximately two hours and consists mainly of tight and dynamic kyucheks (belly dance) tunes composed and arranged by the group and played with energy and crispness, lot of Bulgarian folklore as well (like rachenitsa and horo dances). Synchronized brass instruments are Karandila’s main suit. Their stage performance grabs the audience attention right away with clinical drumming and indefinable trumpet improvisations, flowing from jazz to gypsy. The group has some covers as well - Hasta Siempre (Che Guevara), Summertime, some Nino Rota tunes from Fellini’s mouvies, etc.