Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Orkestar Zirkonium w/ Vagabond Opera - Columbia City Theater

Orkestar Zirkonium
Columbia City Theater

November 8, 2007

Orkestar Zirkonium is a Balkan-inspired mobile brass-and-drum band cast through an American lens. Our repertoire includes songs on loan from Eastern Europe’s phenomenal brass band tradition, as well as a number of original compositions.

Orkestar Zirkonium was founded by a core group of Seattle musicians in 2003, and has over the years accumulated fourteen members, hailing from diverse projects including Circus Contraption, the Infernal Noise Brigade, the Degenerate Art Ensemble, the Freemont Philharmonic, the MTKJ Quartet, and the Anti-Fascist Marching Band. The band plays in a variety of incarnations and lineups; the versatile percussion section includes bass drum, snare, dumbek, and percussion instruments such as cymbals, tambourine, and qarqabats.

The raucous, celebratory Balkan music that inspires us originated among the working-class factory towns and Roma encampments of southeastern Europe, including countries comprising the former Yugoslavia. Orkestar means “band” in several Slavic and Romance languages, and “Zirkonium” (the low-cost diamond substitute) is in reference to our fundamental fakery: Sadly, no one in the group actually hails from the Balkans.

We borrow from the greats of the current Balkan music scene, including Serbia’s Boban Markovic Orkestar, Romania’s Fanfare Ciocarlia, Hungary’s Besho Drom, and Macedonia’s Kocani Orkestar. We are also influenced by Bollywood, Middle Eastern, and klezmer traditions.

As a marching band, our desire is to facilitate joyous musical spectacles in unexpected locales. Our performances range from the completely unsanctioned to the civically sponsored: We maraud through grocery stores, throw dance parties in fountains and parks, and take over parties as surprise (and, sometimes, invited) guests; we burst uninvited into taverns, play for families at city festivals, provide the soundtrack for underground casinos, and entertain wedding-goers.

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