Artist Profiles: Ando Drom

Ando Drom
Ando Drom (On the Road) Gypsy folklore group was founded in Budapest in 1984. Since the members come from different segments of the Hungarian Gypsy (Roma) population, the group presents a wide range of styles and variations within gypsy music and culture.

They perform on a high artistic level and present the traditional music and dances of the Gypsy people in an authentic, at the same time modern way. They also make arrangements and new compositions in order to introduce the feelings and life of today’s Gypsies, representing therefore a living and original folklore. The songs are sung in Gypsy language, accompanied by guitar, mandolin and tambura: for percussion they use spoons, jugs, wooden through and oral bass.

The group generally performs with 6 members, but for their concerts they also often invite young talented Gypsy musicians as special guests. Between 1987 and 2005 they visited many European countries and participated at many international festivals.

At the beginning of 1996 they participated at the opening ceremony honoring Copenhagen (in 1998 in London) as that Year’s “Cultural Capital of Europe”. In 1998 Radio France broadcast the one-hour long concert of Ando Drom. That same year the Italian chanel TV1 and the BBC made and broadcast a program about the group. It is the second year that Ando Drom has had a successful concert series at the Worldfestival in Edinburgh.

In addition to their concert tours abroad, they often perform in Hungary, where Ando Drom is considered to be one of the most renowned Gypsy folklore groups. They were honored two times with the prestigious Hungarian Nivo musical award. They also won first and second prizes at several international festivals (Germany, Sweden).

In 1992, French label Planett released the first cassette and CD Chants Tziganes de Hongrie. One song from the CD written by band leader Jenő Zsigó can be heard in the movie Latcho Drom and on its CD as well. In 1994 they participated in the recording of a CD of the group Chico and the Gypsies as special guests.

In 1995, Ando Drom released a second CD titled Kai Phirel O Del which was selected, best Hungarian CD in world music of the year 1995 by a popular Hungarian weekly magazine. Since the beginning of 1997 this CD was released and distributed in the US by North Pacific Music under the title Gypsy Life On the Road.

Also in 1997, German label Network Medien released another CD by Ando Drom titled Phari Mamo, with guest musicians from the French group Bratsch. Songs from the CD Phari Mamo can be heard on the compilation Gypsy Caravan released by Putumayo, on the Gypsy Road album by Alula Records and the gypsy collection called Road of the Gypsies by Network Medien.

In 1998 Ando Drom participated in the successful album by Bratsch.

The group released Live ’99 in 2000 then took part at a two-month long tour in Japan. In the same year a biographical film was made about the group.

Under the guidance of Jenő Zsigó, Ando Drom recreated Gypsy music. The group served as an incubator of talented gypsy musicians. Several well-known Gypsy acts came out of Gypsy Drom: Mitsou, the members of Romano Drom, Romano Glaso, Lindri, Rom Som, and The Szilvasi Gypsy Folk Band.

In November 2005 Ando Drom released the fifth CD, titled Muro Nav.

Discography:

Chants Tziganes De Hongrie ‎(Planett, 1992)
Kaj Phirel O Del ‎(Ando Drom Foundation, 1995), available in North America as Gypsy Life On the Road
Phari Mamo ‎(Network Medien, 1997)
Live ’99 (2000)
Muro Nav (2005)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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