Gypsy/Cygan/Roma CD's


1. trad. Spisz - Czardasz 3:21
2. trad. węg. Aj Romale - Wstańcie Cyganie 2:12
3. trad. stów. Dźat o pani - Rzeka przepływa przez miasto 2:20
4. muz., st. Teresa Mirga - Gili dato weź - Pieśń o lesie 2:14
5. trad. Spisz - Pchende mange - Powiedzieli mi Cyganie 3:41
6. muz. trad. węg., st. Teresa Mirga – Pchendźas mange / Przyszła do mnie 2:06
7. trad. węg. - Baro pani /Wielka powódź 2:17
8. trad. Spisz - Na somaz me kchere / Nie było mnie w domu 3:12
9. trad. węg. - Hulav tu / Śpiewaj mi o miłości 2:29
10. trad. Spisz - Gelom mange Pojechałem do miasta 2:46
11. trad. węg. - Ketri, Ketri / Katarzyno 2:27
12. muz., st. Teresa Mirga - Te meraw / Kiedy umrę 2:57
13. muz., st. Teresa Mirga - Miri bacht Pieśń o szczęściu 1:55
14. trad. węg. - Kana diklom Nigdy nie widziałem tyle pieniędzy 1:51
15. muz., st. Teresa Mirga - Odoj dur Betlejema - Tam daleko w Betlejem 2:10
16. trad. rum. - Czardasz poranny na zakończenie wesela 2:15
17. muz. trad., st. Zofia Gabor - Kaly Rad - Ciemna noc - kołysanka 4:16
18. trad. - Czajorije, szukarije / Piękna dziewczyna 3:11
19. muz. trad., st. Ewelina Gabor - Pchen tu mange - Mamo, powiedz 3:09
20. muz. trad., st. Zotia Gabor - Baro bijaw - pieśń zaręczynowa 2:01
21. trad. rum. - Hora - taniec 2:17
22. trad. - Andre Biblia - To, co zapisane w Biblii - pieśń kościelna 3:50
23. trad. - Mredewłes me paciaw - Uwierzmy Panu - pieśń kościelna 2:50
24. trad. - Pro swetocys awlas - Narodziny Pana - kolęda 2:04
25. trad. rum. - Melodie taneczne z Pogórza Oltenii 2:27
26. trad. węg. -Czardasz 1:58
27. trad. rum.-Ćirikło/Słowik 2:17

Total Time - 71:14


The Roma Gypsies is the first album exclusively devoted to this long-established ethnic minority in Poland. From among ethnic groups which have lived in Poland for many centuries, the Gypsies are the most exotic and intriguing, but their culture remains the least familiar to both their social environment and folklorists. Their tribal communities and clans, closed to the external world, cultivate independent traditions and are governed by their own laws. They communicate in a language incomprehensible to anyone else, which survives as a living speech. They do not initiate outsiders into the secrets of their life. Their contacts with the external world are usually limited to earning a living. This isolation and separate identity are safeguarded, on the one hand, by their own distrust justified by experience, and, on the other hand, by common social prejudice which feeds on superstition, realistic fears, but also on plain xenophobia [...].
The Gypsies are a peculiar people, maintaining their age-old nomadic lifestyle in the center of civilized Europe, in the age of the industrial revolution. They are oblivious of their past, but history has also somehow overlooked them. Even the basic issues of where they came from, what their original homeland was, how and when they left it, could not be clarified by means of historical evidence. The Gypsies themselves, soon after entering the foreign land, tried to conceal this common ignorance by inventing a fable or legend of their Egyptian origin. It was only much later that, thanks to the findings of comparative philology, a quite different land of origin was quite indisputably determined for them, and the itinerary of their great migration could be described [...]. This general description, presented by Jerzy Ficowski in his monograph Gypsies in Poland - History and Traditions (Interpress 1989), is still quite accurate.
It is now thought that the European Roma Gypsies originally came from India. They migrated along the root through Persia, Armenia, Turkey and Greece to other European countries. They probably arrived in Poland already in their first wave of migrations, entering the country from the south-east, most likely as early as the beginning of the 15th century. Their occupations were smithery and divination. After
this first influx of Gypsies into Poland, new groups moved into the southern regions of the former Polish-Lithuanian Republic in the 1860s. Wagons drawn by horses came from the Carpathians, carrying Gypsies in rich and colorful clothes who spoke a dialect different from that of the first group. The newcomers belonged to two great tribes -the Khelderari (Khelderasha - tinkers from Romania and Hungary) and the Lovari (horse traders from Transylvania). Later, the Khelderasha absorbed other smaller ethnic groups.
The Polish Gypsies now belong to four main groups which differ in dialect, lifestyle and customs: the Lowland Gypsies - Polska Roma, the Upland Gypsies - Bergitka Roma, the Khelderasha, and the Lovari.
The Gypsies no longer travel across the country in wagons - the last one made its journey in 1964. Wandering in wagons was prohibited, and the Gypsies were forced to settle and assimilate. Still, despite the forcible settlement and changes, they have preserved their separate identity, speech and customs to our day.
The recordings included on this disc represent only one out of the four historical Gypsy groups in Poland - the Bergitka Roma, the Gypsies from the mountain region in southern Poland who are perhaps the oldest Gypsy group in this country. Unlike the other groups, they have led a settled life for about 300 years. They live in the sub-Carpathian uplands, as well as in the Tatra on the so-called Valachian route. Their main settlements can be found in Nowy Targ, Harklowa, Maniowy, Zakopane, Rabka, Czarny Dunajec, Kroscienko, Czarna Gora, Jurgow, Szaflary, Czorsztyn, Bukowina Tatrzanska. The surnames of the Upland Gypsies are either of Hungarian (e.g. Gabor) or of Polish highlander (e.g. Szczerba, Mirga, Oraczko, Kacica) origin. After the World War II, a significant number of them left the sub-Carpathian region moving to Cracow and Nowa Huta, where they were employed in the 1950s during the construction of the Nowa Huta steelworks. The Bergitka Roma dialect differs from that of the lowland Gypsies in that the majority of its lexicon is of Hungarian provenience. Despite their settled way of life, they have not been assimilated into the local community. They have preserved not only their customs and language, but also - through intermarriages within the same ethnic group - their typical physiognomy.
The music of the Bergitka Roma depends on the same cultural mechanisms, which have determined the forms of Gypsy music throughout Europe. Its essential feature is the absorption of musical elements characteristic of the indigenous communities among which they settled. In the case of the Bergitka Roma, their music was strongly influenced by Hungarian elements, as well as the traditions of Spisz, Slovakia, Transylvania and, to some extent, also Podhale and the Tatra Highlanders. Their music is transmitted orally, in the traditional manner, from one generation to another, not put in writing, but living in the songs. All the Polish Gypsies sing, each group in its own dialect. These songs are quite likely the most important element of their music. They consist of short, frequently rhymed quatrains which resemble the occasional songs of the local highlanders. The texts always depict everyday life: the birth of children, happy and unhappy love, courtship, weddings, the nature around them. Some songs have no words and do not describe anything (nos. 4, 14).
For centuries, music has provided many Gypsies with a living. Music, especially songs, accompanied Gypsies in all the circumstances of life: The traditional song, not preserved in writing, which lives only in live performance from generation to generation, has no history, and easily undergoes transformations or suffers decline [...] (Jerzy Ficowski, Gypsies in Poland, 1989).
There are among them some with a natural poetic ability, without any training. While some are content with making songs, others improvise entire poems, often times in dialogues. Their poems are on the whole made to music, and music - for the expression of the matter in accordance with the poet's whim. Every song, sometimes every strophe, has its music. And in no other way do they ever create poetry, but by singing they put words together, and while making poetry - they sing. The music, once forgotten, consigns also the poems to oblivion. The Gypsies told me that they remembered such improvisers who composed new and unknown songs without any deliberation, and these songs could last an hour or even more [...] (Teodor Narbutt, 1st half of the 19th century). The practice described in this 19th-century text is still the unique quality of the folk music of the Roma: it is a music in the making also nowadays, which means that it is not transmitted to the next generation in a closed and fossilized form. Every musician of the Roma adds something personal to the music - a passage of text, a phrase, a melody, an ornament, the character of performance, contemporary subject matter.
The settled way of life was favorable to the preservation of unbroken continuity in the repertoire. Formerly, the Gypsies favored the violin, which they played solo or with the accompaniment of a bass. In the most recent times, however, the accordion and the guitar have become the most important instruments.
Music still plays a prominent role in their lives. More private in the past, when it was played only for the local community, it has now reached the general public through concert and festival performances. In this way, the Roma music and culture are becoming an element of cultural life in Poland at large. This process is facilitated by numerous festivals and public concerts of Roma music, as well as other events which allow the Gypsy ensembles to present their art.
The recordings in this collection represent the present-day music making of the Upland Gypsies, the Bergitka Roma. The recordings were made in the year 2000, in Spisz in Czarna Gora near Jurgow and in Cracow -Nowa Huta, a city inhabited by a numerous bergitka Roma population. We present two Gypsy ensembles:
KALE BALA (Black Hair) - a Bergitka Roma ensemble from Czarna Gora (Spisz), founded in 1992 by Teresa Mirga, a Gypsy poet who published two volumes of poetry (Czemu tak? Soske kawka? - 1994, Songs from Czarna Gora - 1999). She performs her own Gypsy songs accompanying herself on a guitar. They are written in a Gypsy dialect or in Polish. For this album, her own compositions have been selected (nos. 4, 12, 13, 15) as well as poetic texts written to traditional melodies of the Carpathian Roma (no. 6).
The original instrumental complement of the ensemble "Kate Bala" was as follows: Augustyn Boldys - violin, Stanislaw Oraczko - accordion and Teresa Mirga - guitar. The csardas which opens this collection was performed by the violinist and the accordion player (rec. Gorzow Wlkp. 1993). At present, the members of the instrumental ensemble are: Teresa Mirga -guitar, Roman Gabor - accordion, guitar, Grzegorz
Mirga - double bass, spoons, double-headed drum, Jacek Kacica - a metal milk jug. This complement of instruments looks back to the musical tradition of Carpathian Gypsies from Transylvania and - indirectly -even to the Indian origin of the Gypsies (the double-headed drum).
The vocal ensemble consists of four singers: Teresa Mirga, Jadwiga Gabor, Augustyn Mirga and Roman Gabor. The repertoire of the ensemble includes Carpathian csardases, traditional songs from Hungary, Slovakia and the Gypsy community of Czarna Gora, as well as new songs composed by Teresa Mirga.
The "Kale Bala" ensemble gives numerous concerts in Poland and abroad, participating in festivals and presentations (The International Festival of Gypsy Ensembles in Gorzow Wielkopolski, The Early Music Festival in Stary Sacz, The Artistic Heritage of Ethnic Minorities Festival - "Together in Culture", The "Music of Youth" Festival in Sanok, St Nicholas Day Folk Presentations in Lublin, The "Rozstaje" Matopolska Competition for Traditional Music Performers, and others). The ensemble has made recordings e.g. for the Polish Radio and Polish Television, for Radio Berlin. It has held concerts in Sweden, Scotland, Germany. Teresa Mirga's poetry and music were used for the soundtrack oi a series of documentaries about East European Gypsies (The Swedish Television, 1997).
KALE JAKHA (Black Eyes) - an ensemble founded in 1991, directed by Zenon Boldyzer. It is made up of members of the Gabor and Boldyzer families from Nowy Targ and Nowa Huta, which belong to the Bergitka Roma tribe. For many years, the first violin was played by the Gypsy musician Janusz Oraczko from Zakopane, who was replaced two years ago by a violinist from Romania, Panel Krasowski-Reiter.
"Kale Jakha" is a concert ensemble which pays much attention to the visual aspect of performances. They perform with a dance-and-song group, so that dance and colourful garments have become an important element of each concert. The members are: Panel Krasowski-Reiter - violin, Mirosiaw Gabor - accordion, Zbigniew Gabor -guitar, Kazimierz Boldyzer -double bass, Zofia Gabor, Ewelina Gabor and Zenon Boldyzer -vocals.
Family music making was once an opportunity to dance and sing together. It was the foundation of the natural and direct transmission of the music traditions of the Roma. The elders remembered old melodies - csardases and slow romances - and passed them down to the young generation in both families, the Gabors and the Boldyzers. Music, says Zofia Gabor, is a regular feature of our lives. When we play, sing and dance, we forget our troubles, leave them far behind - a very special event. As I sing the slow songs, I recall life in my hometown, Nowy Targ. Though I now live in the city with my family, I can escape back to those days through the music and the melodies. They remind me of the burning bonfire, of the life we lived at the time of my childhood - it is a wonderful experience. And, as Zenon Boldyzer adds, a Gypsy's song or dance is simply his heart. In playing and in singing, he reveals all his soul.
The album includes examples of dances which the Polish Roma learned from Carpathian - Romanian and Hungarian-Gypsies (nos. 16, 21, 25, 26, 17) as well as traditional songs: Christmas carols (no. 24), church songs (nos. 22, 23), love songs (nos. 18, 19), an engagement song (no. 20), and a lullaby whose text was written by Zofia Gabor in the Roma dialect and in Polish (no. 17).
The "Kale Jakha" ensemble has performed in Poland and abroad at festivals and other presentations of the Roma culture, including: The International Festival of Gypsy Ensembles in Gorzow Wielkopolski, The International Festival of Roma Music in Ciechocinek, The Artistic Heritage of Ethnic Minorities Festival - "Together in Culture", The International Gypsy Carnival in Budapest, The International Festival of Roma Music in Satoraljaujhely. The song-and-dance group has also toured Australia.

translated from Polish by: Maria Baliszewska and Anna Borucka-Szotkowska


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Originally Composed: February 8th, 2003
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