Music and Musicians
Here we wish to profile music and musicians. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.
Here is a compilation of some well-known Roma musicians with links to their websites and videos of their performances:
Jesus Montoya is from Seville, Spain, born into the one of the oldest Romani families. Jesus was steeped in flamenco purity and power, earning him the name “ El Rey Del Fandangos Grande” at age 7. By age 9 he had his started professional singing career. In 1990, Jesus Montoya came to America; since then he has toured tirelessly with major flamenco companies throughout the United States and Canada. Jesus has recorded with various artists and appears on films, TV and commercials. Jesus recorded his CD’s of original compositions and he continues to perform with his own flamenco company Pureza Flamenca.
Chiqui de Jerez is a flamenco and traditional Spanish dance studio located in the heat of heart of the Romani district of Sherry San Miguel. It is renowned in Spain for its flamenco instructors, La Toná, Javier Latorre, Adrian Gália, Alejandro Granados, Antonio Canales, Mario Maya, Javier Barón, Eva la Yerbabuena, Joaquín Grilo, and Rafaela Carrasco.
Goran Bregovic is a contemporary composer from the Balkans. He leads a group called “Orchestra for Weddings and Funerals” that is composed of a Romani brass band, traditional Bulgarian polyphonies, an electric guitar, traditional percussion, strings and Orthodox Church male singers. His style of music includes echoes from Jewish and Romani weddings, chants from Orthodox and Catholic Church, and Muslim invocations. Bregovic had fled to Paris during the war in Yugoslavia and began a successful music career. He currently composes music for movies as well as for his orchestra. Bregovic continues his career, and asserts his authority as a mature, successful, international composer.
Harri Stojka comes from a musical Romani family and grew up in Austria, surrounded by rhythm and harmony from an early age. Of 200 family members subjected to the Holocaust, only six survived the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Bergen Belson, and others. After suffering in the concentration camps, Stojka’s father and uncle survived the Death March, and the pain remains a focus of Stojka’s music. His current musical projects pay homage to the fallen Romani and pays tribute to the musical roots of the Roma.
The singer Ruzsa Nikolić-Lakatos, who was born in Hungary in 1945, has lived in Vienna since 1956. Having grown up in a traditional Lovara family, she has been singing traditional Romani songs since she learned them from her father in early childhood. These songs tell true stories of the life of the Roma; of happiness and sadness. Ruzsa sees herself as an “ambassadress of the Roma”: she hopes that her songs will help to enhance awareness of her people and that coming generations will preserve the musical resources of the Roma. She is accompanied in her performances by her family, with whom she also writes new songs.
Gogol Bordello is a “Gypsy-punk” music group composed of nine self-proclaimed “wandering immigrants.” Their music style is wild and raucous and incorporates many traditional Romani musical styles. Several of the musicians met at a Russian wedding in Vermont, and from there gained influence and more members. They have toured all over North America and Europe, and are still successfully releasing albums.
The orchestra Bojana Ristica is a Romani band composed of brass and percussion. They play flamboyant Romani music.