Situated on barren land, perpetually threatened by drought or flooding, far away from the modern world, the village of Zece Prãjini has survived through a miracle.
It is almost as miraculous that its Gypsy inhabitants living from hand to mouth are honest, hard-working, friendly and unyielding before life’s hardships.
They live in numerous close-knit families among neighbours who are often also relatives. They all speak Romany (Gypsy language) the Romanians who settled in the village by marriage included.
Music making is the main source of financial income for many families in the village.
There are no less than five brass bands in the village. All of them perform at weddings, funerals, christenings, village feasts and fairs in the surroundings.
From time to time, some of them also play outside Romania. These recent years of transition to capitalism have hit the inhabitants of Zece Prãjini hard: the factories in the nearest town have shut down or reduced their personnel, men lost their jobs.
Women do not earn money – their traditional responsibility is to raise children, cook, and tend to the vegetable garden and animals; there are no jobs for them anyway.
But music helps them get by, with families, their small property, the poultry and other animals in the courtyard. Costicã Panþiru and 9 of his relatives (brothers, sons, sons-in-law) form the Sukar Brass Band.
Costicã is one of Romania’s best known brass band leaders. He can play all the instruments of Sukar Brass Band, which allows him to imagine and arrange all kind of tunes for his ensemble.
One never knows where the traditional repertoire stops and when his own fantasy begins, since Costicã’s “inventions” often carry on the attributes of the older local style.
The skill fullness and creativity of Sukar Brass Band is renewed in Romania, but also abroad. The band has visited several festivals in Western Europe since 1989.
More recently, from 2006 to 2009, it has toured with the “Battuta” show of the Zingaro Theatre, all around the world.
Meanwhile, Sukar Brass Band carefully preserve their link with the musical life of Zece Prãjini and its surroundings.
When they are at home, they keep performing and inventing new arrangements, for the Gypsies and Romanians of the villages and small towns nearby.