Listen up! Orkestar Zirkonium will be featured at SEE LISTEN TASTE FEEL. Nothing says ‘party’ like a live marching band. Another reason to purchse your ticket to THE PARTY OF THE YEAR!
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 over a dozen members, hailing from diverse projects including Circus Contraption, the Infernal Noise Brigade, the Degenerate Art Ensemble, the Fremont 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 Romania’s Fanfare Ciocarlia, Macedonia’s Kocani Orkestar, Serbia’s Boban Markovic Orkestar, Hungary’s Besho Drom, and Yugoslavia’s Goran Bregovic. We are also influenced by Bollywood, Middle Eastern, and klezmer traditions. Our repertoire is roughly 2/3 borrowed and 1/3 original.
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.