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European Gypsy Singers

Vlaxi Roms are found in many parts of the World. In the Czech region they represent about 5% of Romany people, as tent-dwellers, horse-dealers, or trough- makers, and, like the English & Welsh Romanies, they sing, mainly unaccompanied, and, for dancing, rather than instruments, they tend to use "mouth-music".

1. "Louli ru_a salas" sung by a woman (aged 29) rec Hjsk, Rimavsk Sobota, 1967. gypsy adaptation of modern pop sung by Rybana, star of Karel May's film, "Vinetou", shown in a cinema at Vclavk (the colloquial name for Prague's St. Wencelas Square): "You were a red rose when you lived with me/ Now you are no longer with me, you are withering/ On the Vclavk, Rybana is dying/ Old Chatterhand heard it and got on his horse/ He got on his horse and went to Vinetou/ When the scythe cuts a flower, the flower withers away/ When the scythe cuts a flower early in the morning/ The gaoler man in charge of keys/ He goes around without saying anything/ Only that he's lost the keys of the gaol" - 2.07

2. "Kana glem peko foro" (When I went to the town) sung by chief, Cibet (56), of Gyr, Hungary, with his daughter-in-law (22), living in a small house with a yard vaulted with wine-shots in a Rom street in Kom...rna, rec June, 1981. An 8 stanza ballad improvised when he was visited by his 2 sons-in-law. He addresses them beforehand: "I ask your permission, all you Rom people/ What does a poor man like me know?" - 4.19

3. "Av-tar manca" (Come with me) Dance-song by a woman (24) [as #2] - 0.40

4. "Zav-tar mange po majora jaj" (I shall go to the meadow) sung by woman (22) [as #2] - 3.40

5. "Khani te na ol" (Nothing should be heard) Bakro (36), son of Ferko from Kom rno, [as #2] - 1.28

6. "Ke but mrdem mura rom_a" (I gave my wife a heavy beating) sung by Kinys (30) addressing Milena as Milka(Romany name), after being questioned as to why she was living alone [as #2] - 1.41

7. "Kon kamel pe?" (Who makes love?) sung by Cibet, angry with his wife for reproachment after losing at cards - 0.29

8. "Kaj salas tu mamo?" (Where were you, mother?) sung by Cibet's daughter-in- law (22). 10 stanzas including: "Wherever I go, non-Romanies are all around me" - 4.41

9. "Minek am?" (O why, mother?) Lulu, Tata, Hungary. "Why did you bring me up without brains (wisdom)?/ God punishes whomsoever he wants to punish" (These are floating verses which are frequently repeated in many Romany songs) - 1.55

10. "Phurdel balval plajinestar" (Wind is blowing from the plains) sung by a man accompanied by balalaika, in a garden cafe, where Romanies were drinking wine, Tata, Hungary, May 1981 - 2.31

11. "Khelimaski" Mouth-music for dancing, accomp. by balalaika & spoons - 2.03

12. "Akh rdas ma Babi" (Babi called me) Kalman (50), with guitar, a horse-dealer from Bachso, a singer recommended by folk-collector, Rudolf Vig. "Babi called me to come to America/ To get a lot of money, golden money/ I am dying, Babi, I am dying/ Because of your dark eyes, my heart is aching" - 3.24

13. "Soha te na meren" (They never should die) Group of tent-dwellers with fiddle and spoons. Song of Russian Roms adapted from the popular film, "Gypsy Camp goes to Heaven", followed by "Khelimaski", dancing song by same group - 2.53

14. "Khelimaski" Mouth-music, guitar & tambourine with Romany adaptation of pop song frequently on both TV & radio - 2.04

15. "Na mar ma tu devla" (Don't punish me, O God) Iboya, a girl of 17, with her step-brother (30), tent-dwellers, rec. Hodasz, district of Nyˇregyh za, Hungary, July 1980. Iboya prays for her 1-year old illegitimate son. While singing she fed the boy at her breast. Beforehand, the collector asks who she is, afterwards, Iboya tells the story - 5.20

16. "Oj de mardas o del kade luma" (God punished this World) sung by Borosa (60) (buibasa or chief) accomp. by his son, rec. by Mic Budhui, Romania Aug 1980 - 3.34

17. "Bnoski li" (The Song about Bano) sung by Cyrilko, rec. in his own flat, Prague, Sept. 1980, preceded by the customary request to be allowed to sing speech and "toast". The song describes an actual event in 1951 when Bano, "vaida" (chief) was murdered after he had denounced his Romanies to the police. The first two strophes are in Hungarian, the rest in Romanes: "When they first hit him, they hit him on the head/ When they hit him the seventh time they killed Bano/ Do not murder me, Kink so, Good Lord, bless you/ So many children will become orphaned/ Did you realise, Bano, just what you were doing?/ by what you did, you were murdering all of us/ You, you have to die, Bano, your time has come/ Your time has come and now you must die" - 3.34

18. "Khelimaski ili" Dance-song by man (40) with hand-claps & finger-clicking, [as #17] - 0.54

19. "Kon kerel pe gavaleri?" (Who wants to be called a gentleman?) sung by Bojinka (10) with cousin (5) rec. Praha Kre, October 1981. "Who wants to be called a gentleman?/ Let him prepare the table for us" - 3.09

20. "De ma mamo semo paji" (Give me, mother, a little water) sung by Bakro, Bojinka's father. "Give me, mother, a little water, my head swims/ My head swims from the old wine (Open it!)" - 4.46

21. "Minta, minta" Dance-song by woman (26) learned in Slovakia, rec. Praha-Kyje, 1972. Minta is probably a kind of bush. "Kiss me behind the minta/ Not on the road where my husband can see/ otherwise he'll cut off my hair/ sigh of shame, he'll shoot once, twice/ & he may kill two women" - 1.05

22. "Bumbazi" Mouth sound rhythm for dancing by men - as previous - 0.07

 Recordings by Milena Hobschmannov were made mainly around Prague, 1967-81, in Czech & Slovak areas, as well as in Romania and Hungary, 1980-1. She has also added some earlier tapes from the 60's and 70's.

Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax cassettes 1982.

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