Va Fan Fahre
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Va Fan Fahre

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"Va Fan Fahre - Zet Je Maar"

Va Fan Fahre - Zet Je Maar

Flemish Belgium brass band Va Fan Fahre’s second album is not your usual Balkan fare, but takes the genre to many unexpected corners of the musical world

Managing to retain a live quality in the recordings, although less so than on their first album, Romski Robbery which is very raw indeed, Va Fan Fahre continue their musical development and really have come a long way in a couple of years as a group. It is a relief as a fan and listener of brass that in such cases the album has not been over-produced or polished up so perfectly that the music loses its soul.

Zet Je Maar opens with ‘Mashki’, a sort of marching band scat which could provide the mis-en-scène to a James Bond opening sequence with both vocals and boom of the tapan provided by drummer Dimitri Simoen. This is followed by a slow progressive ascent into brass ecstatic dizziness with ‘Tcha’s Mood’, featuring guest violinist, blind multi-instrumentalist Tcha Limberger.

And on the album goes, taking us through a sort of tango with ‘Te Quiero Tambien’, Qawwali with ‘Kajele Tikika Nakarame’ and so on. ‘Ethiopian Gipsy’ gives a nod to Mulatu Astatke and many of the arrangements are jazz inspired but not so much to put off someone, like myself who is not a huge jazz fan. The usual ‘orkestrar’ ensemble is complimented with harmonium (or helikon), cajon and tablas. The balance of a full smooth brass sound using variations of rhythm and instrumentation from around the world brought largely by guest musicians, makes this truly music without borders.

I imagine Va Fan Fahre are brilliant live and this is a fun album with something a little bit different to offer fans of Balkan brass.


- FLY GLOBAL MUSIC CULTURE


"03/05/2007 The Prague Post"

"... Opening the evening will be Belgium's Va Fan Fahre, who were rated an impressive 127th in the "Top 1,000 of the World Music Charts Europe" rankings for 2005. It's no wonder, with the way the band gives brass music a ska swing. Their new CD, Romski Robbery (on a label appropriately named Zephyrus, after the Thracian god of the wind), includes collaborations with musicians from India, who lend a few of the tracks a Far Eastern spice. ..." - Prague Post


Discography

Romski Robbery - 2005 - Zephyrus Records
Zet je maar - 2007 - Zephyrus Records

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Bio

Va Fan Fahre was set up in March 2003. The repertoire existed initially of klezmer, but in the course of 2004 it was completed with Rumanian and Bulgarian brass. The band also started to make their own compositions and it is in that direction that VFF continued to work. This resulted in a mix of several styles. By the end of May 2005 the band produced their first album (Romski Robbery). “The music is Balkan-brassband-like, shows its klezmer influence, but it is especially the thoughtful arrangements that give the music an extra originality, like some funny brassarrangements, speeded up with ska, jazzy improvisations and funky grooves.” (Review 2006 – KindaMuzik).
The first album features two guests: the Ghent chansonnier Saf and Mahabub Khan (voice/harmonium/tabla), known from the band Musafir of Rajasthan. The CD was well commented. In the top 1000 of the World Music Charts Europe 2005 their first CD was rated 127th. By rights: the Belgian press unanimously praised their concert at Mano Mundo 2006 festival as one of the veritable highlights.
The band played on a lot of festivals in Belgium and is now on the verge to play around Europe. In November 2005 they were invited to the studios of Radio Popolare (Italy/Milan), the end of March 2006 they were invited again to Italy (Bologna), in May 2006 they played on the Balkan Brass Festival in Prague (Roxy), in June 2006 they played in Berlin on the Festival der Kulturen,… This year they are invited on a Balkan Festival of the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna).
You can find some songs of the band on different compilations: Gypsy Garden Vol. 2 (Lola’s World Records – Germany), Flamundo Vol. 2 (compilation of the Flemish Music Center), Balkanbeats Vol. 2 (Eastblok Music – Berlin),…