Thursday, January 11, 2018

Romani jazz Django Reinhardt emerges from a novel

Talent. Himself.
 ah wippa shhh lop lop

A Romani 1910-1953- see the biographical film
that accompanies his Three-Fingered Lightning

Three-Fingered Lightning, there also with Stephane Grappelli  on violin

Here's a loop  
bing stroo pip


A terrible fire permanently curled some of his fingers
diddly diddly whoop aoh!

Djangology  Djangology

Born in Belgium, nomadic
de de de bumpa doo wah
Relatives, many gone in the WWII KZ

Minor Swing Minor Swing
Gotta make a mix of this and just loop it all day    I Got Rhythm    I Got Rhythm
zanga la loo lee bwingo flipflip

Daphne Daphne
Belleville Belleville

Rarely played a song twice in the same way  Sheik of Araby

Meet him today in the novel, The Girl Who Took An Eye for an Eye --  David Lagerkrantz,
Lisbeth Salander back,
kick back and put her in the cafe, in the curling smoke, inhaled up the nose,  before she explodes and POW

Django up there, just looks over
And nods

images of old film unlikely violin
a character, two characters, absorbing every tone

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Old Bessarabia. Rank, privilege, human ownership, and repercussions

In researching the history of serfdom in Russia, and the privileges of the Boyars that entrenched in a system (now abolished) called mestnichestvo, I found this 1856 source that touches on comparison of serfs and "gypsies" in Bessarabia. Eastern Europe, Middle East, affected by pulls by the Byzantine system and the Germano-Romanic (including Poles, Hungarians and Germans), in how ranks were absorbed, administered, and whose were hereditary. See The Russian Empire, Its People, Institutions and Resources, Volume 2 by August Freiherr von Haxthausen at pp. 152 ff.  Wallachian ranks:

Wallachia:  All residents were "Tzarani" from a Wallachian word for country, or tzar. Work: as peasants, in fields, laborers, "field-watchmen", herders. Then this part: the only equivalent of serfs, in Russia tied to the land, belonging physically to the landowner, in Bessarabia, were the "gipsies". From early times they belonged to the privileged classes.

Then the source addresses subgroups of the privileged,

This is a kind of bookmark to get back to the human issue of one group driven to own another, and how to get around the customs and repercussions of servitude. The effect: even poor health for those on the lower rungs, see

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Voices for the Yenish. Arts, book: Jakob's Colors by Lindsay Hawdon; Videos

Frame anew the identities and cultures of those thrown away.

1.  Book alert.  Jakob's Colors, by Lindsay Hawdon. This is not yet in our nearly statewide library system, but apparently follows a Roma-Yenish child, mixed blood, alone in Austria, World War II. Find the recent review of Jakob's Colors at .  Information about the book and the Yenish is riveting.

Roma were excluded from reparations after WWII because, it was argued, Roma were not in the death camps for racial reasons but because of their "asocial and criminal record."  See NYT review.   See a prior post on other aspects of the Yenish, at

Click on the many videos now online.

3.  Come away with an affirmation that, as one theme score repeats with enthusiasm, it's no crime -- to exercise a culture and its traveling, to follow one's own traditions. 
  • Settled groups would add: Traveling, that is fine so long as it does no harm, and cite as did the Nazi quoted in the review, not the racial-ethnic aspects of getting rid of these movable and moving groups, but the "asocial and criminal record" of those some half-million Roma exterminated in the Holocaust.
  • Other settled ones (perhaps like my son and I who love to travel (improvised road trips), who somehow feel an affinity with the Roma and now Yenish, Travellers, would say otherwise:  It is the rigidity and intolerance of difference of others, that the settled ones foster among themselves, that is the root cause of trouble between travellers and settled, not the act of, say, travelling. Calcified borders do not solve problems.
A proud past, emerging re-pride for the future.  Is is possible for Travellers to settle and retain their identity.  Why should they have to.  This, from the small hotel where we stayed at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France, a Roma-multi cityion the Camarques. What truths lie in idealized pasts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Arts, Romanian film, Aferim!

Aferim!  Film, from the Turkish meaning Bravo! --Romania. Topic: a fictional constable and his teenager son hunt for an escaped Roma slave, set in the 19th Century in Wallachia by Radu Jude 2015.  The expression is used for mutual congratulations among the hunters as the hunt progresses. Although not based on actual persons, the plot draws on historical record.

Award so far:  something called The Silver Bear, best director award, Berlin Film Festival, February 2015.  It is in the running as Romania's entry, best foreign-language film, the Oscars.  The former executive director of Romani Criss, that I understand is the "leading Roma rights organization" (most of the sites are not in English, so a search, so where is it located? recommends it for raising awareness. See New York Times, review 9/9/2015, Arts, at C1.  She is Margareta Matache.

Aferim! is not in our area film houses, and not in the library, but I found it online (free! so it says - is that a scam?) at

Matache notes the 500 years of slavery in Romania, abolished in 1856, but it remains under rugs, no memorials, not mentioned apparently in history books, places like museums, and there are no memorials.  Mr. Jude expressed two goals for the film:  increase awareness, and highlight "second-class treatment of Roma today."  NYT.

Earlier films: 1923, Gypsy Girl in the Bedroom, lost except for some isolated stills.  Other directors: Cristian Mungiu, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,  and Beyond the Hills

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Travel to Russia. Roma Resources. Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Update -- Return from Russia, see Russia Road Ways.

1. Many ethnic groups there, obviously, but difficult to get any information with the language difficulty and restrictions of a small tour -- and the bus.  Access available to Roma for us was only through taxi drivers: courteous, helpful, would set the record straight about the services available in the spotless tourist districts not given where they live.  That is also true at home.

Absolutely no way to determine ethnicity of anyone.  These photos of someone begging are just to show universality of the condition, and the humane response it sometimes gets.

 Poverty:  No way to know who we are seeing in that condition. Read Anthony Marra's Tsar of Love and Techno, for Russian poverty, span of years, also human inspiration. Review at

We were steered away from struggling areas, but saw transients, people begging, in the Metro. Again, no way to tell who they were, many appeared to be veterans, amputees.  Tourist areas are kept clear. 

Police: seen in pairs. Did not see a lone patroller.

2.  Am exploring a timeline site for Roma: go to and search for Russia or other topic-- regret the use of the name.  There is only a 2006 entry on violence in Russia, but this site has not been used much.  Find the Index at

3.  Useful search:  try Moscow Commission on Gypsies (since that was the word used in the timeline) and find several sources.  Try St. Petersburg Russia Commission on Gypsies (add that Russia to avoid going to Florida) and see an article warning tourists against gypsy cabs.  Not so.

Metro. Built by Stalin as the People's Palace. See the Russia Road Ways site

Travel to Russia. I am going to Moscow and St. Petersburg shortly, and ask for recommended Roma places, artists, culture focal points. Roma resources needed.  People, history, phonetic language assistance.

Resources so far include the European Roma Rights Centre at, and articles, University of Victoria, Holocaust, Re-Remembering Porraimos, at;  also The Roma and Russian Literature at Russia Beyond the Headlines at;


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Roma culture share in times of fracture. O.P.Joshi.

I have received some samples of the work of O.P.Joshi from India. He says, in part, "I studied Roma since 1974 and ater retirement I painted and Published cards on Roma,culture,,music, make aware people about them, wish to send samples to you. O.P.Joshi" He approved my posting these, and I have made them close to thumbnail size. I have more and enjoy them very much.  To contact him, leave a comment here and I am sure he will see it.

It brings to mind history, cultures, see handy overview at Migrations,

Monday, November 3, 2014

Roma at Highlands NJ. Madame Stanley's Table

Twin Lights Historic Site
Lighthouse Road, Highlands NJ

Venerable communities recalled.  For me, growing up, summers in Highlands at my grandmother's cottage there, still able to place in my mind each piece of furniture: this one a particular favorite.

Madame Stanley and a group of Roma camped at Highlands, year after year.  They made furniture, among other occupations, and Grandma bought this fine table one for the front porch at her Portland Road bungalow.  Grandma and Madame Stanley:  good friends.

Next trip to the NY - Sandy Hook area, plan to visit the Twin Light Lighthouse, Highlands NJ.  The historical society has set up a Museum at the Twin lights.  This branch of the McConaghy-Scharfe gang is sorry not to have kept more from those days.   Historical Museum at Twin Lights. Twin Light. Historical Society.  On a clear day, we could see NYC.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Roma Religion. Charismatics Offering More Than Politics.

I.  Examine the facts; does Christianity, in some form; now enable the positive status of Roma; despite opposition of other 'Chriatians.'

What happens when a derided Christian community, Roma Orthodox, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, any branch, offer more in humanitarian results than those other Christians who brand them as inferior, not to be allowed autonomy, a permanent underclass..

Must Roma remain a permanent underclass?  Not if some branches of Christianity have a say, and they do. There remains a current strong following for Christianity among Roma, Romani, despite ongoing cultural rejections by traditional Western religions and groups who considered them less than truly Christian. And the numbers of the faithful are growing. Explore why, where. Start with a very Christian source, a moderate one, not automatically tilted evangelical, at Philip Jenkins' article, The church of the Roma, Christian Century, June 11, 2014/
  • The focus of the Christian Century article is on this observations:
    • That European Roma are "overwhelmingly Christian and becoming steadily more so."  
    • That forms or Roma Christianity include the charismatic Christian groups, evangelicals, Pentecostals. 
      • And this attraction is true despite historically profound persecution by 'mainstream' and 'deviant' European cultures, both; 
        • Some 500,000 Roma were killed in the Holocaust, known as the porajmos, although precise numbers are reachable, given those simply killed and dumped into ravines and the like, before they even arrived as places like the extermination camps, where records were kept.  
        • Others were sterilized, and numbers for all those out of the formal transport system, and who comprised the original larger population, are difficult to pinpoint, see  
        • Rigid prejudices remain.  The scapegoat. 
II.  What is the practical, not necessarily spiritual, effect of Christianization through charismatic churches?

Why is this ongoing and increasing charismatic Christian participation important?

A. .  The attraction to charismatic Christianity is changing Roma culture in ways that their older adherence to orthodoxy did not.  The article notes that women enjoy greater emancipation, and education now. Participation in these Christian groups also teaches organizational and negotiation skills, as the groups proselytize, seek rights in their communities, train pastors to further the interests of the congregation. 

B.  Charismatic Christianity flourishing gives the lie to  those who say Roma are not Christian.  The Roma are doing for themselves better than other branches of charismatic Christianity did for them, is that so? Pentecostal Christianity offers skills experience.

III.  Why will traditional Western culture lost out to new approaches -- using Christian terminology..

A. Here is what the West does worst:  suspend judgment of a behavior until its cultural, linguistic, historical, personal surround is examined. And yet, the Common Law, underpinning the justice system of Western Cultures, traditionally applied maxims, or truths, of equity immediately after application of a law, to ensure that justice and not mere punitive retaliation resulted. See

  • Judging itself is morally precarious, as scholars of Jesus and some Christians would point out, see Matthew 7 at; but disregard of reasons for a behavior augments the evil, is that so.  
  • When is the taking of a thing of value mere theft, to be punished mightily in the West; and when is it part of a cultural origin in a unity of give and take/ Does the perspective of the culture of the "offender", where sharing freely is the originator of the norm, and a taking where a needed thing is not shared, more acceptable than not.  Self-justifying? See  Romani law and culture, linguistic and behavioral angles
B.  With this huge disregard of basic justice and religious principles in the West, why would Roma continue to espouse Christianity?

Focus on sharing.

Try this:  Roma embody more Christianity than the Western usual Christians because their focus is on the sharing of all, the give and take, the sharing again.  See original linguistics:  to take, is not to steal necessarily, which is a random malicious gimme act.  To take is to show need, and self-help where someone will not share.  That is a general idea, now too far calcified in Western terms as thieves, but hatched in the Western crucible of Ayn Rand.  I have, I took, and I dare you to assert your need. Is that so?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Roma Music. Cultural updates - Start with Caravan of Thieves

Gypsy swing band.  Gypsy swing folk band is the full category, I understand.  One of my favorites among bands of that joy is Rattlesnake, a few years old but lasting, from band Caravan of Thieves -- visit

The more traditional music, see Romani music, Gypsy harps, group musicians,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Yenish Travellers. Blonde Angel as Celtic-Teutonic Yenish Traveller? Need Facts.

Blondes among the darker.
Why assume a crime?
Is the blonde angel Yenish? Maria and Greek Roma.

Update in light of comment, below. 

 As of 11/2/2013.  The child Maria's biological parents have been found in Bulgaria as the Greek Roma family who are raising her, had stated.  The identity is confirmed, and no crime appears to have been committed.  See . 

 In Ireland as well, no issue remains as to a blond child in a darker family there as well. See 

Prejudices betray us, in the absence of facts.

1. An old issue now recurs. Alarms are raised about why darker skinned parents are raising a lighter-skinned child in their nomadic, or once-nomadic, Roma culture. Headlines:  the light-skinned child, the blond, blue-eyed one, might have been stolen. Take the child into protective custody, jail the parents! See

Might have been. The fever to feed a stereotype about racial hierarchy rules. No facts first, before painting the ending. The anti-minority mythology, the ancient libel about (once) Jews, and now Gypsies, grows.  Another such child has been found in a Roma family in Ireland, see   The Irish "Tinkers" are Travellers of, I understand, ethnic Irish background, see  And look Irish, not of Asian or other dark-skinned descent.  Still, smear.

Author Louise Doughty, with many books about Roma and Travellers, has risen to the current issue and called it, when it occurs as in the current fact-free zone, recurrent libel, see

2.  Roma or other nomadic groups are not alike. There are blondes like us. See an overview: Open Society Foundation, Voices, History of Gypsies, Roma, Travellers.  It has long been known that Travellers in the British Isles and elsewhere in Europe see themselves as separate from "Gypsy" or Roma groups also on the Continent.  Are the Travellers' origins Celtic, deep into Europe's own past, and not derivative from a migration from India.  Surnames can suggest a Romani past sometimes -- look at the Yenish, for example, in  Do a Romney and see the variations.

3.  Yenish, for example. Who are the fair-skinned nomadic peoples.  The Yenish Travellers, are among European nomadic peoples, even if now settled, and the Swiss response to them has been brutal.

3.1  Research.

Read academic papers on the topic, four submitted at the University of Greenwich, and one including specific mention of the tool of accusations of nomadic peoples' child abductions and state persecution responses against them generally (in Switzerland here) at, and all dating in the range of 2003,2004, 2005, 2006.

Find one such paper as a google book, The Role of the Romanies.  sections focusing on tales of child abduction and why they often seem to swirl about these wilfully maligned cultures, including the Yenish culture of Switzerland. for example, and other countries. , see Strike fear into hearts:  tell tales of child abduction, changelings, and target some group in need of, says the mainstream, control.

3.2.  Self-education.  The Yenish on film.  Listen.

Watch the Yenish in this Yenish film, so titled, see; and another at  Go down the right hand menu for more -- in America, anywhere.  I searched for Jeinesche Bond Letzebuerg, listed as the film's originator, and found nothing.   Here is a January 2012 long film, Die Letzen Freien Menschen, but in German, at  Music, haunting.

3.3  Read Louise Doughty.  Novels help normalize lives.  Try Fires in the Dark.

4.  Journalists.  Study your topic.

This issue of how nations deal with cultures within it is not de minimis, to be swept under traditionally boundaried countries' rugs.

The overall issue is ethical, humanitarian, right to autonomy. Is there such a human right to autonomy, to be able to move about instead of staking out turf?  With origins in various mists, and beset by urban legends that serve to rouse the settled against them, how do they defend.  Is there a right to assumed innocence? Of course not. And any group builds in survival techniques so they can survive.  Can those be defused? The cases do need to be vetted; but why remove a child if the home is safe, minimal adequate care even, and the parents cooperating in place?  The stereotypic assumption of guilt in a minority again is frightening.

There is more to nomadic cultures than the one category, Roma, Romani, embraces.  Stories recur in European and other history as children of the road, many now halted, caravan families often forced into alien molds of forced settlement. A broad brush paints them as darker skinned, dark hair.

 Get us some facts before arousing stereotypes.  Knee-jerk police-types. Unless there is harm being done or likely to be done to a child, and so long as a flight risk is not feasible (make it so), leave the child with the parents while you investigate calmly, quietly, and then perhaps tiptoe away while the child sleeps, unaware. 

FN.    Associations:

Nomadic peoples in Scandinavia.  Are they there?

I did see begging people on our recent improvised road trip (Norway Road Ways), but have no information on ethnicity, or whether they were migrants as any others might be, just that they were dark-skinned.  I cannot discern clothing styles with any confidence.

Housing.  I saw only one trailer settlement in Norway this year on an improvised road trip.  Trailers, mobile homes, in groups, are not commonly visible from the roadside.Are they there? The people in that park were not dark, but I did wonder what purpose it served, construction going on, dirt road in parts, there hidden 'way up on the summit of a moderate mountain at Kvam, a place the sign called the Peer Gynt Trailer Park.  Peer Gynt country, of course.

Curiosity, speculation without facts:  Are these or were these residents nomadic once and is this a "settlement" by the governmenr?  Or is this just senior housing (then why so far away, up a winding road, up up. Is it benevolent low-income housing open to anyone.  The people I saw were fair-skinned.