KABATRONICS (ALBANIA & UK) (Fanfara Tirana meets Transglobal Underground)



STUTTGARTER ZEITUNG (DE) - Phenomenal concert in a finely textured sound inferno.
RHEIN-ZEITUNG (DE) - Astonishing appearance.

On 2012, two maverick groups, Britain’s eclectic Transglobal Underground and Albanian brass maestros Fanfara Tirana, team up for a dynamic cross-border, cross-cultural jamboree. Drawing on a Tom Tiddler’s ground of musical treasures, Balkan and otherwise, they exchange ideas, melodies and lyrics to tell new tales of mystery and re-imagination in a sparkling celebration of life, love and solidarity with its roots in history and its sights on the future.

Fanfara Tirana is surely one of the most entertaining brass band coming from the Balkans. Formed on 2002 by a group of friends from the Albanian Army band who decided, in a light-hearted fashion, that it might be worthwhile to form such a band, just to see what might happen. They contacted veteran singer M° Hysni Zela and persuaded him to come out of retirement and join them, which is when the serious fun started. Taking the time-honoured tales of heroes and lovers that are the backbone of the Albanian tradition and infusing them with the pumping rhythms of the best Balkan brass styles, they have created something truly innovative yet totally representative. Already blazing new trails at home and now ready for export.

Their latest album, released by Piranha, climbed higher and higher the World Music Charts Europe for months, but with their new studio work Fanfara Tirana has gone further on and delivered the whole album to the londoners manipulators, the brilliant minds of TransGlobal Underground, a band that built up their music from the idea of crossing borders, or better, following the philosophy that there are NO borders at all.
TGU are well known for being very keen at mixing musical styles and rythms taking no care at all about music genres or barriers created either by technology or common sense.
In the years they've been overexposed as well as niche market, although they kept being very influent. They made a rule out of “mash up”, mixing all kind of music and sounds, brave pathfinders, always a step ahead innovating the music scene.
The music composed by TransGlobal Underground can be seen as a kaleidoscopic trip through rituals, secrets with sudden, joyful swerves intheir tunes. Their aim is to enhance the deepest groove, looking for the red thread crossing different sensibilities and connecting their music to the multy-faceted universe of world music.
The result is a blast! Ideas travelling back from London to Tirana forced the albanian musicians to go back to the recording studio with a new vision, fresh ideas and many expectations.
Two very different bands got together, the contamination already took place, and the results could be the rise (being a bit pretentious) of a new music reality.
Southern albanian kaba meets reggae, drums meet electronic, the voice of the albanian folk idol M° Hysni Niko Zela meets Tuup's black soul.
Sitar strings embrace Iso-polyphony from the eagles nation and the results is astounding.
Fanfara Tirana & TransGlobal Underground decided to get together for a European Tour in 2013.
It's a perfect match. Symbiotic.

The goals arrived soon.

Best World Beat Album and Best Music Video at IMA's (Independent Music Awards), headliner over the globe from China to Norway, from India to Germany. Several nomination as best album on magazines, Grammy's long list etc. Over 100 reviews with 4 and 5 starsat Rolling Stone, The Time, The Guardian, fRoots, Songlines, Manifesto, La Repubblica, Mondomix, Les Inrockuptible etc.

The project developed further into a new one, more compact and more flexible getting the name of the album, Kabatronics composed by 4 musicians per band and they are recording their new album to be released in spring 2016.

If you're up to dance two hours in a row look for their next live show, you won't regret it!


The Band

  • NIKO - leadvoval (FT)
  • MR WHITE - sax alto, clarinet (FT)
  • COLONEL JAMES - trumpet (FT)
  • GAS GAS - trumpet (FT)
  • TUUP - leadvocal, percussions (TGU)
  • TIM - keyboard, electronics (TGU)
  • HAMI - drums (TGU)
  • SHEEMA - sitar, bass (TGU)

some times

  • RAV - dhol, tablas (TGU)
  • MR KEYBOARD - sax tenor/bariton (FT)

on request

  • all brass from Fanfara Tirana



fROOTS (UK) ***** - "Yes i knew it was going to be good, but perhaps not this good. Kabatronics is a proper album like wot they used to make: diverse, consistent, well produced and with a whole that’s greater than its many impressive parts."

ALIAS (IT) ***** - "Unique! If you miss this record, too bad for you. Here we are in the presence of two giants of no borders music with no ideological barriers, least of all when it comes to play. The marvel at what comes from Albania “committing a sin” with reggae, transgressing at the sound of a sitar, weaving electronics with brass and losing itself in voices coming from very far away in time and space."

MONDOMIX (FR) ***** + MENTION “Mondomix M’aime" - "Un travail en profondeur qui évite les effets tape-à-l’oeil et soigne une approche musicale dans le respect des traditions approchées. Inspiré et heureux."

IL MANIFESTO (IT) *****- "A stellar album! 14 resounding tracks! A star that truly shines and glare of its own! To hear, endless times. Especially if with each listen, that star shines more and more."

THE TIMES (UK) **** - “A symbol of cultural fusion in 2013 who would fit the bill!

THE GUARDIAN (UK) **** - “An experiment that actually works. The result is a highly entertaining clash of Albanian brass and beats, with unexpected echoes of India or the Caribbean added in. Epic laments that would make great film music.”

SONGLINES (UK) - Fanfara Tirana could stun a badger at 50 paces. Otherworldly sound of pealing clarinets over flugelhorn, saxes and trumpets, and the strangeness of their rough, gruff harmony vocals. Kabatronics is a winner

R2 - ROCK’N REEL (UK) **** - “The result is a musical hybrid that’s true to its origins but which is considerably more than the sum of ils parts. This is an album that constantly surprises.”

WDR RADIO (DE) *SUPERTUNES SELECTION - “Here is a record that takes the Balkans out the overdrive, it returns from the fast lane to the right lane. Very succesful project. Instrumental tracks like “Flowers Lament” bring to new, extraordinary situations.”

JAZZTHING (DE) *FOCUS SELECTION -" This Albanian-British summit actually pours new wine again in the old bottles of Balkan hype."

MELODI E UND RYTHMUS MAGAZINE (DE) ***** - “All the effort was worth it. Successful experiment. A milestone of Global Dance. Balkan soul and big beats."

STUTTGARTER ZEITUNG (DE) - Phenomenal concert featuring the London based ethno-electronics of Transglobal Underground with the brass of Fanfara Tirana in a finely textured sound inferno.

RHEIN-ZEITUNG (DE) - Astonishing appearance of Fanfara Tirana and Transglobal Underground A concert by transnational riff monsters. The seething mixture of loops, samples, drums and brass left the listeners (and dancers) both fascinated and delighted. The septet, with Niko the “voice of the past”, adding traditional Albanian vocal artistry additional played with incredible momentum and finesse. Rhythmically diverse, with interesting lyrics presented in the style of a Toasting Linton Kwesi Johnson, Fanfara Tirana meets Transglobal Underground burned like a borderless World Music fireworks display.

LE JOURNAL DE MON TREAL (CA) - “As some wizards, shamans and other “Temporal”, they invoke the sun and good weather through music. Fusion Brass Band Fanfara Tirana and British funk/techno Machine Transglobal Underground, everything is there to brighten your spring. Invigorating rhythms, influences from around the world and dance machine...”

REFLEX (CZ) - “Lots of attempts at merging world music with electronics do not work, this one did, and perfectly. Sometimes you do not know if you listen to reggae, calm chillout, or a Brass Quintet. Tremendously amousing, simply as TGU. And yes, Fanfara Tirana could raise the dead.”

LE DEVOIR (CA) - “Shots of brass stabs, syncopated lines and restless polyphony. The fanfare remains the fanfare, but in sauce 2.0.”

OUTSIDERS (IT) **** - “Kabatronics, is just that, a centrifuge of sounds that is going to rewrite the 2013 chapter of “world music”. The new project has perfectly centered the goal. Amazing video of No Guns To The Wedding, traditions intertwined in the sign of delirium and irony. Sensational. It’s a captivating and danceable album, which hasn’t taken away anything from the frenzy these two groups are famous for when they’re on stage, as if the walls of the recording studio never existed. Everything moves, nothing is defined. Now we can say: finally something new"

EASY VOYAGE (DE) *****ALBUM OF THE WEEK - “An exceptionally well-done fusion. The original melodies go into the ear and some of them directly in the legs - the spice of life. Highly creative collaboration and worldmusic of “EXTRAKLASSE”. Traditional ethnic sounds sent to the dancefloor, or to your home!”

LES INROCKUPTIBLE (FR) ****- “Mais quand les promis ont belle gueule, le mariage est heureux.”

EASY VOYAGE (FR) ***** - RECOMMENDED ALBUM of the week - “Kabatronics, cocktail Albano-Britanique détonant! A écouter par tous les temps, en toutes saisons et en toutes circonstances!”

GLOBALSOUNDS (DE) **** - “This collaboration between London and Tirana speaks a language of its own. Globalized Balkan Fusion for the dancefloor, but with a healthy respect for the original melodies.”

B!RITMOS MAGAZINE (ES) ***** ALBUM OF THE MONTH - “Something new and different! Splendid! Tremendous! Beautiful! Musical communion between the
two bands is total!”

WNYC RADIO (USA) - "Fabulous record!"

NA MAGAZINE (SE) **** - “The variety is huge”

SOLAR JAZZ MAGAZINE (CO) - “Kabatronics is a recording that manages to captivate and entertain without losing the complexity in time. A unique magic and mysticism.”


ROLLING STONE (DE) **** - “A magic carpet ride between London and Tirana.”

VARMLANDS FOLKBLAD (SE) **** - “British world fusion group Transglobal Underground meets Albanian brass band Fanfara Tirana in a violent encounter.”

JAZZTHETIK MAGAZINE (DE) **** - “ The proud Albanians were not satisfied with Woodpecker or Hoopoe: ‘The Eagle Takes Flight’.”

FOLKER MAGAZINE (DE) - “ What is offered is playing on an extremely high level.”

BLOGFOOLK MAGAZINE (IT) *ALBUM OF THE MONTH - “Kabatronics is an album that is extremely rich, full of energy with a good dose of fun and is infectiously danceable with an approach that is original and not obvious in the genre of world music. Both acts compliment each other’s musical and technical approach with an unmatched intensity.”

OX FAM (NL) - “This exciting combination guarantees a wonderful symbiosis of Albanian brass masters and the eclectic sound of Transglobal Underground. ‘Kabatronics’ is a dynamic, energetic, border and cross-cultural company where ideas, melodies and lyrics are exchanged.”

MUZIEKWEB (NL) - “Recommended to lovers of best Balkan music.”