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

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea