MUSIC FOR GYPSY, ROMA and TRAVELLER HISTORY MONTH
Every June GRTHM offers us all the chance to experience and explore the history, culture and language of Gypsy Roma, and Traveller communities. By doing this we can also challenges myths, tackle prejudice and contribute to a balanced debate about the issues that concern these communities in the UK today.
This project has been developed in primary and secondary schools in West London since 2015 with Emmie Ward, who is an English singer and musician who works for The English Folk Dance and Song Society based at Cecil Sharpe House in London, and Sarah Montague, a violinist and trained teacher who works in London secondary schools and leads the London Gypsy Orchestra.
Our work consists of:
- interactive performance for up to 60-70 students, 30-60 minutes long depending on need
- more in depth focused workshop for smaller groups
- instrumental music lessons on appropriate instruments e.g. accordion, gypsy jazz guitar
- introduction to Roma and other related languages
- introduction to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History
- providing further information sources to schools
- follow up visits if required
Hai La Drum
Hai la Drum was a band featuring Romanian virtuoso violin player Vasile Stanescu, also known as “Baz”. The other musicians were Jonny Hepbir and subsequently Jason Henson, guitar; Dan Sheppard, bass; and myself, accordion.
The band performed in a series of short tours of the UK from 2007 – 2010, covering London, the South East, Gloucestershire, Wales and East Anglia to critical acclaim. This was cut short when Baz passed away in Jan. 2013 after battling lymphatic cancer.
From L to R Sarah Montague violin, voice; Pete Watson accordion, keyboards, voice; Emmie Ward flute, tin whistle, guitar, ukulele, percussion, voice.
We play and sing acoustically and just need 3 or 4 chairs and a changing room. If microphones are needed we bring our own. We use USB sticks to pictures and information on school IT equipment.
I am keen to deveop this project and roll it out across the UK. For further information and to hear about how we are working duirng the COVID-19 crisis, please get in touch.