Orkestra Del Sol

Established Edinburgh favourites Orkestra del Sol present a show of Balkan-inspired brass and visual spectacle infused with a love of theatricality.

The band are brilliant musicians; technically impressive but also silly as hell.

The nine musicians on-stage are incredibly talented and make it look easy. The use of so many musicians working seamlessly together makes for an incessantly active stage that is thrilling to watch, and the band clearly enjoy themselves. They work through different styles including klezmer, calypso, polka, latin, jazz, salsa, and ska, using the most fun and danceable bits of each for the massive brass party that the show is. Their fabulous musical arrangements giving each instrument a playful, show-offy bombastic solo.

The costumes are delightful in red and black, down to their socks and shoelaces and the Orkestra del Sol dresscode apparently states that all members must wear a head piece. They advise the audience on dance routines, on how to move hips and on a particularly skilled knee-based dance. The audience are keen to learn these moves, and the screen flashes “POLKA”, as if it’s an order.

To say their performance is playful would be an understatement. It’s more an adventure that includes chases, magic and a stage dive from a moustached violinist in little more than a red turban and red leggings. The sousaphone stalks the violinist, and there's an impressive feat of naked levitation. At a later point, the band turn to stone and need to be cranked up again by the trumpet. As they age, if anything, Orkestra del Sol seem to be getting sillier. At one point the trumpet player reappears in a hoodie (with cap, of course) to do some rapping, with some bizarre lyrics about Pokemon, Tamagotchi, twerking, and the intriguing taunt that “I'll rearrange your face like a game of tetris.” It's all the more surprising when you realise that such a bizarre tangent had been effectively foreshadowed earlier in the show. As a beatboxer with requisite bling on top of his red and a black uniform joins the stage, Orkestra del Sol somehow manage to tie all the styles together and manage to stay coherent.

Orkestra del Sol present a performance even more polished than their Brasso-scrubbed instruments. They have perfect timing musically and theatrically, managing choreographed jumps, weaves and ducks. They have huge infectious enthusiasm and energy and this, along with eclectic creativity and talent, manages to communicate meaning within the madness. The band are brilliant musicians; technically impressive but also silly as hell.

Reviews by Alice Quine

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The Blurb

Globally inspired but distilled in Scotland. This explosive reinvention of global brass band music has captured imaginations, set pulses racing and left a trail of pummelled dance floors across continents. Ska, porro, Balkan brass, klezmer and funk combine to create a living, breathing, polka-ing, pogo-ing honkstep for the 21st century, their legendary live shows bursting with anarchic humour, wildly skilful musical arrangements and a roguish sense of theatre. This year’s show features top moments from critically acclaimed albums The Moveable Feast and Lung Capacity, as well as brand new compositions and characters. Not to be missed!