Thursday, 5 July 2018

Acquaragia Drom - Zingari

Many, many years ago in France I picked up by chance a CD of the music of a bunch of (probably somewhat smelly) Adriatic gypsies playing their folk music. The five members of the band were photographed in front of their van. Instrumentarium was guitar, clarinet, accordion, and violin; all instruments you could carry off quickly to the forest whenever the next gypsy purge erupted. The band called itself Acquaragia Drom Zingari, and the CD dates from the early 1990s. I have spent decades enjoying the tracks on the CD.

Why? First of all, because this is genuine folk music, not too tainted by showbiz or commercial considerations. Secondly, because the sound world is genuinely North India meets Southern Europe, as befits its gypsy origins. Thirdly, because the two female vocalists have voices that will cause all males to salivate, and all female listeners to scowl. And fourthly because this kind of music — Central European folk, klezmer and gypsy — gave birth to so much of Western classical music (and instrument playing). This is roots stuff, and highly enjoyable. These Zingari were based in Italy, and may now — once more — be having a hard time of it. Off to the forest, again.

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