Fanfare Ciocarlia, Old Bailey, London
Yasmin Levy, Union Chapel, Islington, London

It's the end of a sell-out tour that began at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow and ended in the basement of a Romanian restaurant on Old Bailey in the City of London. The restaurant's basement had been cleared of tables and chairs, and it's standing room only for the heaving mass of revellers close to the stage.

Fanfare Ciocarlia, the 12-strong brass band from Zece Prajini in north-eastern Romania, were first discovered a decade ago, when a German sound engineer, Henry Ernst, who now runs the band's record label Asphalt Tango, convinced the local musicians to form a touring band.

Tonight wasn't an official date on the tour calendar; but it's the perfect place to see Fanfare Ciocarlia in action – playing, literally, in your face as the trumpeters Radulescu Lazar, Paul Marian Bulgaru and Costica Trifan take turns to blast out searing solos. With frontman Dan Ivancea and his two brothers weaving their way in to the opening Vivaldi on saxes and clarinet, they hit the ground running, storming through the punchy opening numbers before slowing down for the beautiful "Lume, Lume".

The likes of "Ah Ya Bibi" and "Caravane" get a big cheer, and as Fanfare launch into the second set with the exuberant, massive riffing of "Asfalt Tango" (the track Basement Jaxx sampled on their 2006 song "Hey U"), they are pumping out the hardest, hottest Balkan brass in the world.

By the closing track, "Presentarea", complete with an astonishing drum solo from Costel Ursu, the band are taking requests – the classic Saban Bajramovic number, "Sandala", before easing into a majestic rumba, the magical sound snaking up the stairs to the smokers on the street, and drawing a good proportion of them back down after the last train has gone and the last note has been wrung from this phenomenal band.

The Israeli singer Yasmin Levy melds the Ladino tradition – the Judeo-Spanish Sephardic culture of 15th-century Moorish Spain – with flamenco. Many of the tracks tonight are parting, broken-hearted songs, while "La Alegria" is almost a pop-soul anthem. With Levy's warm but unerring professionalism as a performer, it is music that could work just as well in Las Vegas as in Jerusalem.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before