Underway – world music with Roger Willemsen
Roger Willemsen Presentation and Programme Supervision
Sumitra Indian Harmonium, Vocals and accompanying musicians playing tabla and sarangi
Monika Lakatos Vocals
Mihaly »Maszi« Rostas Guitar, Janos »Guszti« Lakatos Bass Scat Singing, Misi Kovacs Violin, Tibor Balog Cajón
Part 4: Underway with the Romani from India to the Balkans
Wed, 13 May 2015 8 p.m.
Chamber Music Hall
The fourth Unterwegs in this season begins its musical journey in the Indian land of the legendary maharajas of Rajasthan (land of the kings). This is the geographical origin of the Romani, a unique people who lack any documentation of their own history. Thus, their origin has long been shrouded in mystery. According to the latest research, the Romani, like the Sinti or the Kale, migrated from north-western India, now Rajasthan, heading towards Europe about 1,500 years ago. They do not identify with any territory, have never claimed national sovereignty in the countries where they live. In Sanskrit there is evidence that their name could stand for a low caste that earn their livelihood with singing and music. Across all eras, the Romani have always slipped elements from the culture surrounding them into their music; these elements then naturally became “their” music, just as if brought from India by their forefathers.
The evening is an encounter between two great women’s voices: on the one hand, the highly renowned folk singer Sumitra from Jaitaran in central Rajasthan. The magic of her powerful and unmistakable voice has earned her the honorary title of “cuckoo of Rajasthan”. On the other, there’s Monika Lakatos with the Ensemble Romengo from Budapest. Together, they invite us to discover the Vlach. The origins of the Vlach are in the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (today Romania), where they suffered centuries of serfdom and slavery. After the end of the Turkish occupation in the 18th century, they emigrated to Hungary. Their traditional repertoire consists especially of slow, lyrical songs. Romengo is part of this tradition: the adventurous musicians around Monika Lakatos, who have won international awards, create their own compositions in the Vlach style, as well as rendering new interpretations of traditional songs.