Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on June 2014
The Dolomites are the brainchild and 17 year old project of Stefanko Koji Iancu, Japanese-Romanian accordionist and story teller extraordinaire. Currently based in Mexico- Stefanko performs accordion music with a multitude of influences including Irish, Mexican, Japanese, Americana, and the entire constellation of gypsy music.
Traditionally, gypsy music has influenced and fused seamlessly with the cultures in its historical arc from the Indian subcontinent across the Middle East and throughout Europe. Stefanko’s Dolomites, with hypnotizing, drunken accordion and polyrhythmic dance music spread a multicultural gospel and as such represent the first wave of the Japanese/Gypsy diaspora.
Their current Japan residency/tour, which extends through July, includes a variety of percussionists and tuba who furiously stir an intoxicating cauldron, laying a foundation for the ecstatic belly dance of the beautiful and sultry Natsumi. The Dolomites’ blend of wacky, psychedelic theatricality and stomping, hip-shaking anthems leave audiences staggering in a sweat and sake soaked orgy of dance and shouts of “Kampai.”
The Dolomites play many shows in Tokyo and across Japan through July. Check their website for tour dates. The tour also highlights the rerelease of the albums Japan Years Volume 1 and 2. The songs on the albums and on the tour are largely sung in Japanese and represent the purest fusion of Gypsy/Japanese music to date.