Tilburg’s Gipsy Festival to celebrate its 15th anniversary this month

Kálmán Balogh & the Gipsy Cimbalom Band
The next festival I will be covering is the Gipsy Festival in Tilburg, Holland, May 28-29. Held over a weekend, it features music and dance performances as well as workshops by Maya Sapera, Zingarina and Antonio de Verónica en Saray Cortés. The festival has been running since 1997 and celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Gypsy culture is a wonderful phenomenon: in all countries where it appears it has his own color, influenced by the local music but with a clear gypsy feeling,” said festival director Albert Siebelink in an interview.

The lineup includes bands from Holland (Koninklijk Zigeunerorkest Roma Mirando), Hungary (Kálmán Balogh & the Gipsy Cimbalom Band), Austria (Fatima Spar and the Freedom Fries), Romania (Balkan Brass Battle), Nadara (Romania), Spain (Flamencos de Malaga) and Belgium (Gadjo Joe).

In India, where gypsy music comes from, it sounds different as compared to Spain – which in turn is different from Egypt and Russia to Hungary and Romania,” said Siebelink.

The Gipsy Festival showcases a wide spectrum of this culture, from music and dance to arts and crafts. Gipsy music welcomes non-gipsy artistes as well, and has been a big influence over composers, artists and film-makers over the decades.

Unfortunately, gypsies have faced a lot of discrimination, especially under Nazi rule. “It is important to focus on their rights through exhibitions, film and documentary programs,” says Siebelink.

The festival organizers visit a range of other festivals as well, and its outreach includes music schools, universities and embassies across Europe.

Our message in this festival is: keep open your eyes and ears for one of the most interesting cultures of the world and try to understand their past and future! And bring your own ideas to the festival,” says Siebelink.

I have covered performances by the gypsies of Rajasthan and flamenco troupes of Spain, and I am truly excited to be attending this Gipsy Festival in Holland for the first time!

More information at http://www.gipsyfestival.nl

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