Giving Memory A Future
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Language, Music, and Culture - Music


Santino “Alexian” Spinelli (pictured above), an Italian Roma from the Abruzzo region, is a composer, a songwriter, a teacher, a poet and an essayist.
He has two degrees and teaches Romani language and culture at the University of Chieti. He has held numerous concerts in Italy and abroad, playing Romani music with his band (Alexian group).

  • Music, song and dance have been the most common forms of artistic expression of the Romani communities over the centuries and are linked to caravan living and family life. They are the chief vehicles for the transmission of Romani culture or Romanipen.
  • In addition to the three main currents (Andalusian flamenco, Manoche jazz and Balkan music), there are Roma and Sinti performers involved with pop music, Neapolitan neo-melodic song, country music, as there are Roma and Sinti people among songwriters, rappers, and classical music.
  • Each community has its own cultural and artistic tradition as well as its own kind of music.
    Djelem Djelem ('I walked, I walked') by Jarko Jovanović is the trans-national anthem recognised by all Romani communities in every continent. Jovanović's anthem is the adaptation of a folk song; it contains references to the Porrajmos and to the persecution by the Black Legion militias.
  • Did you know that…? During the Romantic era, the rhythms of Romani music inspired great composers such as Liszt, Schubert, Brahms, Kodàly, Mozart, Ravel, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff. Franz Liszt was the first composer to write essays on Romani music.
  • Listen to Roma music – Amnesty International. Listen to the songs on the CD for free. An Amnesty International project.


Further Reading