Super Rats

Canberra’s got a very diverse music scene for its size… That’s what they always say isn’t it?  Well, it lacked a Romanian folk band. An unforgivable omission. We had to change that.

Super Rats play classic ‘lautari’ music, from the gypsy neighbourhoods of Old Bucharest.  This unusual and appealing style has many influences: raw Balkan village folk, Gypsy and Turkish music, old central-European restaurant and cafe music, and even jazz. At the centre of the band’s sound is the cimbalom, a giant dulcimer with 145 strings, along with accordion, violin, and double bass.

Old, old but not yet weary songs about working all day and all night, stealing horses, and blaming your fickle heart for falling in love. Old tunes as crooked and curling as a gnarled branch in the forest covered once more with flowers. Exuberant tunes that revel in virtuosic speed, like letting your horse gallop just because it wants to.  Supple oriental lines that suddenly take flight into long, lyrical phrases that surf over a bubbling waterfall of accompaniment.

Sitting on the fence between East and West and borrowing good things from both, Romanian music calls to the feet through lively rhythms and outrageously fast dances, and to the heart with its lyrical melodies and intricate riffs. To the new listener it is immediately appealing, both strange and familiar at the same time, like a fairy tale from childhood that doesn’t end the way you remembered it.

Super Rats is the result of over a decade of research and study in Romania with master traditional musicians. We present virtuosic, no-holds-barred renditions of this complex and intricate music, no cutting corners!

We hope you can take the time to attend one of our performances, which are listed on these pages, or on our Facebook page, and that you enjoy what you hear!

That name…

Super Rats is a pun. It sounds like the Romanian word supărați, meaning “annoyed ones”. Of course, it also refers to a recurring urban legend of tiny shy creatures who have adapted to the hostile environment around them, grown enormous and become immune to poisons, and scuttle around terrorising everyone, so that’s pretty appropriate too.