Celebrate life musically

by Annette Meisl
Annette Meisl and Rudi_Rumstajn

For the tenth time, the Südstadt Leben association invited people to “Gypsy Night”

“Jump up from your seats and celebrate life,” said Sonja Grupe from the Südstadt-Leben cultural development association, encouraging visitors to the Balkan Roma Night in the Luther Church. It was now the tenth round of the concert and dance evening.

Not only should the musical focus be emphasized, but the Corpus Christi procession, which led many of the participating Sinti and Roma from the cathedral to the memorial in front of the Deutz exhibition halls on Kennedyufer, should also be remembered. Thousands of their relatives were deported from there under the Nazi regime.

“Crying and laughing are close together, and today we are laughing,” Sonja Grupe continued. Before Ramis Jasar and Marcel Alijevski entertained with the modern Romanian pop style Manele, Rudi Rumstajn recited the poem “A Bird Falls”. The guitarist and singer wrote this together with Annette Meisl and will set it to music . “Our poem tells of the miracle that one living being needs another to become a whole,” explained Sinto, who comes from Croatia. Lines from it read: “Like a spring-young summer, I was young in my longing, deeply caught in freedom.”

Then came the Maele pop songs. Hearing them in the Luther Church was a new listening experience in a gypsy night that was otherwise dominated by gypsy swing. The traditional Romanian song form, which predominantly Roma compose and play, developed from Balkan lute players whose roots are Turkish. The modern Manele style has been dominant in Romanian pop music since the 90s. The oriental influences are so influential that those who danced in the Luther Church spontaneously formed circles as if for a folk dance and moved in the smooth rhythm of a belly dance. The Enis band around Enis Ibrahimovski from Cologne brings together Dejan Frieb, piano and keyboard, Marko Jovanovic, accordion, and Dejan Jovanovic, violin, from Mülheim ad Ruhr. The guest was the soul and blues singer Maja Djodjevic, who danced with the audience before her performance. Also frontman Enis, who jumped on stage with the duo for some Manele tracks and mixed up the powerful sound on the drums. The main band of the evening brought Balkan turbo folk, gypsy jazz and Roma blues from Macedonia and Serbia. It is so melodic, has so many fiery rhythms and is so danceable that Jan Krauthäuser from the Gypsy Festival Committee recommended hiring the band for weddings.

Kölnische Rundschau by Ulrike Weinert June 27, 2019

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