I read this for the European Reading Challenge 2014.
Princes among Men: Journeys with Gypsy Musicians- Garth Cartwright
This is part travelogue, part history about Roma music in Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. He is completely engaged with his topic. He loves this kind of music and his fascination is infectious. His writing will drive us, compel us to YouTube where we can find awesome music that makes us want to dance and rejoice (click the links below).
The Romany, or Roma, are dispersed from Rajasthan to Ireland to North America but the Balkan countries of Eastern Europe are home to the largest Roma populations. They have been denigrated for centuries. My gentle grandmother, a Hungarian born in the early 20th century, told me when I was a kid to beware of “gypsies” since they kidnapped little kids, blinded them in one eye, cut off an arm or a leg, and made them beg on the streets. The first time I saw people I knew had to be Romany in the central market in Riga, Latvia I thought automatically, “Okay, watch out….” Funny how our default settings lie dormant, only to spring into action even after we are old enough to know better.
If only discrimination stopped with scary stories designed to make kids stay close to home. For centuries, the Romany have been socially and economically oppressed and victimized by injustice and violence. During World War II, the Nazis and the Croatian fascists committed genocide against the Romany. The Romanies were killed on sight or sent to labor and death camps. The total number of victims has been estimated at between 220,000 to 1,500,000.
Oppressed peoples turn to music to make their hardships easier to bear. The Romany listen to brass bands, violin and cimbolom virtuosos and captivating vocalists at weddings, funerals, and other events. Cartwright must cover a vast topic, but he does so by writing profiles of representative artists. He is less reliable on history and anthropology. Some readers may be able to shrug off his curt dismissals of Kronos Quartet, John Coltrane and Uriah Heep. But this reader can’t. Run down Uriah Heep. And get on the fighting side of me.
Click on the link to get to YouTube.
Cocek Shutka Sudahan
Unde o fi puiul de aseara Romica Puceanu
Kan Marau La Fanfare Ciocarlia & Dan Armeanca
Boro Boro Kal
Godzila Jony Iliev
Revisko Oro King Ferus Mustafov
I Barval Pudela Saban Bajramovic
Daniova Mama Sofi Marinova
Sunet Oro Kocani Orkestar
Nahtareja Mo Ilo Panljan Esma Redzepova
Ce Aysunu Dzansever Dalipova
Ca La Breaza Toni Iordache, tambalist
Cocek Akana Boril Iliev
Rustem si suite Taraf De Haidouks
Dzumbus Funks Boban Markovic Orkestar
Mahalageasca - Mahala Rai Banda
Cintec De Dragoste Si Joc - Taraf De Haidouks
Mundo Cocek - Boban Markovic Orkestar
Rachenitsa for the Bride - Ivo Papasov
Di, Murgule, Di - Nikolae Simion
Opa Cupa - Saban Bajramovic
Lume, Lume - Fanfare Ciocarlia
Romano Horo - Esma Redzepova
To Tsantiraki - Eleni Vitali
Felix Kolo - Boban Markovic Orkestar
Kadife - Omar Faruk Tekbilek
Taraf - Shukar Collective
Sofyisky Kjuchek - Ibro Lolov
Rom - Nikos Kypourgos