In Seattle, amid the waterlogged remnants of squandered old-growth forests, broken-down breweries, industrial warehouses, and labor union halls, a mobile fourteen-piece brass-punk band borrows performative style and Balkan/klezmer-influenced sounds from the greats of the Roma tradition, plunging into crowds and galvanizing joyous derangement in every time signature.
Orkestar Zirkonium’s twelve-plus members hail from projects including the noir troupe Circus Contraption, the punk marching units Infernal Noise Brigade and the Anti-Fascist Marching Band, and the The Annie Ford Band and Sigourney Reverb. All OZ players share an intense fascination with the radically propulsive music of Fanfare Ciocarlia, Goran Bregovic, Boban Markovic, Kocani Orkestar, and Esma Redzepova. The group’s repertoire of cathartic dance music features original compositions as well as traditional and pop standards from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, India, Ethiopia, and beyond.
Since its founding in 2003, the group has accumulated players, fine-tuned its scrappy attack, and performed in art-deco theatres, grimy clubs, daylit parks, condemned buildings, busy midnight intersections, and surprised taverns, coffeehouses, and commercial spaces. The band’s on- and offstage perambulations invite onlookers into a participatory role and recalibrate the relationship between performer and audience; its scathingly celebratory uptempo sounds inspire street parties, traditional Eastern European line dances, and the ecstatic abandonment of reason.
Photo: Jenny Jimenez / photojj.com