Kejša is a short and catchy Roma pop love song that, like most Rom-pop, has been covered countless times by many artists. If you were to visit the Lunik IX settlement in Kosice, you’d likely hear a version of this song playing out someone’s window.
The Gipsy Boys band enjoy playing this song together, and it features in almost all their performances. “We love playing it because it’s in a different style than most of our other songs,” says band member Martin Jano. “It’s easy to play, and people love to sing along and dance.”
The original author of this song is unknown, but his love interest is immortalized in its words (Kejša is a popular Romani girl’s name). It’s a simple declaration of love – a common theme of music around the world, but especially among Roma. Why are so many Roma songs about love? Because Roma love in the same way they express all their emotions, says Alex Rybar – they love with deep passion. “We put all of ourselves into our love and feelings.”
Original author unknown, this performance by Gipsy Boys (Košice)
Šun so tuke phenav,
Sar me tut kamav.
Tu andro jilo mange sal.
Kejša, nane niko sar tu sal.
Le Romenge paltu vakerav,
Savi lačhi šukar sal.
Listen to what I say,
How much I love you!
You’re in my heart.
Kejsa, no one is like you.
I’ll tell everyone
How beautiful you are!
All instruments and vocals: Jan Dani, Rene Frater, Martin Jano and Alex Rybar.
Special thanks to Julius Pecha for translation assistance.