“I Even Met Happy Gypsies”

Aleksandar Petrović will perhaps forgive that we borrowed the first verse of a song from his world famous film, but now we enter a world in which this statement is entirely true. Nowadays many words – mainly aiming at getting more votes – but much less heart and even less sense is working to improve the fate of the Gypsies, although there are a number of success stories to be imitated, including an obvious field: music.

We have already written about the multi-ethnic singing in the pubs of Lwów (and we hope that we would be able to illustrate this later), but the music which at the same time, in the 1920s was written on gramophone records in the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes, is simply breathtaking. The following gramophone recordings witness such a wonderful virtuosity and such a high level of instrumental and vocal music, which is in a perfect contrast to our modern stereotypes about Balkan music. These melodies carry us to the smoky pubs of Belgrade, to the noise of the Sarajevo bazaar, into a beautiful, sunny world in mid-winter. Let us listen, then, to Mijat Mijatović and the Gypsy band of Dušan Popaz. If your heart starts to beat more intensely, it is no accident.

Our photos commemorate some well known and less known old Hungarian Gypsy bands.

Mijat Mijatović 1887-1937

Mijat Mijatović in Belgrade

Jedren grade

Dušan Popaz and his band

Šorom ide mlad momak

Imre Magyari (1899-1940) and his band

Vino piju, nane, age Sarajlije

Pali Pertis (1906-47) and his band, 1937. His grandson was the world famous Hungarian violin virtuoso Barnabás Kelemen.

The great actor Pál Jávor in the pub


Pista Dombi (1895-1944) and his band, 1935

Sto si Leno na golemo

Kálmán Oláh Jr. (1910-?) and his band, 1940

Imam Jednu Želju

Unknown Gypsy band around 1910. Source: fortepan.hu

Kupi mi majko top

Unknown Gypsy band playing at 5 o’clock, on 15 July 1934. in Pócsmegyer, at the double wedding
of my grandparents’ cousins. Notice their proud and self-confident look. The negatives
suffered various injuries during the vicissitudes of the 20th century

Eto tako živim ja

3 comentarios:

MOCKBA dijo...

In Russia, Gypsy musician and vocalist clans were Servitka Roma, relatively recent transplants from the Balkans (whose tribal name literally means, from Serbia). Is it the same in Hungary?

Studiolum dijo...

Yes, Ruska Roma music is known in Hungary, too (although more its Ukraino-Polish, rather than Ukraino-Serbian representatives). It would be a good idea to present them. Do you have any favorite performer or group to recommend?

Hungarian Gypsy musicians, however, are not from the Balkans. They are an autochthonous branch of Gypsies, who perhaps came from Anatolia through Wallachia during the Ottoman domination.

MOCKBA dijo...

Although their basic repertoire has a lot in common, Сэрвы (Servitka Roma) traditionally set themselves very far apart from Ruska Roma (a historically less educated and less assimilated Roma group originating in Poland). Romen Theater, and especially Nikolai Slichenko, were probably the most artistically accomplished Servitkas of the XXth c.