Many Roma folk songs like this one present a challenge – it’s a simple melody and text that’s repeated over and over. How do you sing the same thing in a different way? In a way that is interesting to hear each time? When you listen to this recording of the Galakticka Children’s Choir, you’ll discover that director Rosalia Klemparova solved this problem in a unique way – and helped teach vocal technique at the same time!
Of the four songs we recorded together over two days, this one took the most “takes” to get just right. I thought the students would get tired of singing the same song over and over again, and at some points they did seem to lose energy… but she always knew how to help them find it again.
“I keep reminding them to imagine they are in front of an audience,” she told me during a break. It’s not an easy thing to do when you’re standing in an empty classroom surrounded by styrofoam and sound-proofing materials. But they had a recent experience to draw on – a successful performance in front of a large audience on Slovak Teachers’ Day. She showed me a video, and you could see the children light up and gain confidence each time they received applause.
“They loved to hear the clapping,” Klemparova said, beaming. “This was really an accomplishment they will remember, to have all these people clapping! They were really able to concentrate and do their very best.” That’s saying something for these children, most of whom are growing up in deep material poverty. They don’t often have a lot to be proud of.
“But when they discover that they’re good at singing, they feel like they have something they can show the world. It can really help them imagine a different life.”
Av miri romňori (Come Be My Wife)
Roma folk song, this recording by Galakticka Children’s Choir
Av miri romňori,
av miri lačhi,
av ke mande pale,
pala tute me merav, merav.
Pala tute me merav, merav
kana tire jakha me dikhav,
kana dikhav me kamav,
pro vušta šukares čumidav!
Come, be my wife,
Come, be my dear.
Come back to me –
I am dying for you!
I’m dying for you,
When I look into your eyes,
I see them and I’m dying.
I’ll kiss you on the lips!
Traditional Roma folk song, this recording by Galakticka Children’s Choir
Director – Rosalia Klemparova
Instruments – Martin Ferkov, Alex Rybar
Voices – Galakticka Children’s Choir
Special thanks to Julius Pecha and Leonard Horvath for help with translation.