Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Romani Potpourri #2:

Romani flag, from Wikipedia

I'm not certain, but I have a little gypsy blood in me. And my mother always told me that her grandma could give someone the evil eye, and I'd better not cross her because she had some of that blood in her. Mother always believed that she could predict the future, and she had dreams that came true.
Sam Raimi

One of the reasons I'm fascinated with Gypsies (the politically correct name for them is Roma) is that they live a lifestyle outside of mainstream society. Music making, fortune telling, and horse trading were their traditional occupations.  They were a wandering people who, unfortunately, experienced discrimination wherever they went.

The Roma were originally from India. They made their way westward, and a sizable population of them live in Eastern Europe. They found they could make a living as musicians, and they were very good at it. 

The first video is a really old black and white broadcast from Austrian television (do any of you remember the days when there was no color TV? If you are over 50, you probably do.)  This is Esma Redžepova early on in her career, she began performing at the age of 14. The song is Romano Horo from the album Songs of A Macedonian Gypsy: (yes, despite the political incorrectness of this word, she is very proud of her heritage, calls herself the Queen of the Gypsies, and has been very much involved in humanitarian work in her homeland, Macedonia).

The second video took place in 2002. Esma has an enormously powerful stage presence and a very big voice! Her co-star is Toše Proeski, who was a very popular Macedonian singer and a superstar in his own right. His repetoire consisted of love songs, folk songs and pop music. Unfortunately he died much too soon; in a car crash five years ago. Check him out on You Tube, he was quite the performer. He knew how to work his audience, and the two combined are pure energy.

for more on Toše Proeski and Esma Redžepova click:

If you've been following this blog regularly you'll recognize Daniel Spasov, who was featured on The Alien Diaries about a month ago. The next two videos are from the album Ide Duhovata Muzika (Here Comes the Brass Band). Brass music is very popular all over the Balkans, and many of the musicians who play in these ensembles are of Roma origin. The song, Ciganko, is about a man in love with a gypsy girl.

This video caught my attention because of the colorful costumes and how the well the symbol for the Roma people (an Indian chakra resembling a wagon wheel) was cleverly worked in here (check out the wagon wheels). They are having quite the party here along the Danube, River of Many Names. The song is Eh, Ti Druzhe. Unfortunately the very end of the song was cut off, but this is still worth a look.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

People Are Afraid of What They Know Little About (about the situation of the Roma in Eastern Europe, along with some music).

A Romani Potpourri

A special "Thank You" to Tracie Skarbo, friend and author from Canada who published an interview with me on her blog recently.  You can read it here:

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