Taraf de Haïdouks (Romanian: Taraful Haiducilor, “Taraf of Haiduks”) are a taraf, a troupe of Romani-Romanian lăutari, the most prominent such group in Romania in the post-Communist Era. In the Western world, it has become known by way of French-speaking areas, where they are known as “Taraf de Haïdouks”.
They are a band of 12 instrumentalists and singers of different generations. In addition to recording many memorable albums of traditional tunes, they’ve relentlessly toured all around the globe, have released acclaimed albums and a DVD, and their countless fans include people like the late Yehudi Menuhin, Pina Bausch, Kronos Quartet (with whom they’ve recorded and performed), actor Johnny Depp (alongside whom they appeared in the film “The Man Who Cried”), fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto (who invited them to be models-cum-musicians for his Paris and Tokyo shows) and many more. The music of Taraf de Haïdouks was featured in Tony Gartlif’s film, Latcho Drom. According to David Harrington of Kronos Quartet, Taraf de Haïdouks “take their listeners to the essence of music; that place where the bow meets the string and a world of action follows.” Taraf de Haïdouks, who take their name from the Haidouks, Robin Hood-like thieves who are recalled in many of the group’s ballads, hail from the small Romanian village of Clejani, southwest of Bucharest.