If you’ve listened to other songs in the Roma Voices Project, you may have noticed that Roma don’t shy away from expressing their emotions. Roma are a passionate and emotional people, and they openly express what they’re feeling – whether it’s anger, joy or sadness.
“And of course, they express all this through their music, too,” says young Roma musician Martin Ferko.
“Through music it’s possible to express both laughter and sadness. And it’s possible to express everything a person is – for example if he’s in a bad mood, he’s angry, he’s sad… he can put on some music and feel it through the music.”
The Roma even have a special kind of music for funerals and sad events – it’s called “Halgato.” For many Roma, just hearing Halgato music evokes memories of sad times. But “sad times” are also “together times” in Roma culture, so Halgato music also has positive connotations. “When they play Halgato,” says Julius Pecha, “even families that have argued for years will come together. When they play these [sad songs about regret] people will come together and forgive each other.”
There are no recordings of Halgato on Roma Voices Project, but you can find good examples on YouTube. See the end of this post for a good, traditional example.
Mangelas man (She Pleaded)
Original author unknown, this recording 2020 by Mikovci
Mangelas man, mangelas,
oj rači pašma pašťolas,
apsenca pre ma dikhel.
Joj ušťi, nabírinav.
Se man o Del nasasťarela.
Džanav hoj but ade
me Devla naavava.
Marov čaje marov,
bo me som rado hoj
She pleaded, pleaded,
She laid beside me that evening
And looked at me through tears.
“Oh, stay, because I won’t make it!”
God won’t heal me,
God, I know
That I won’t be here much longer.
Don’t cry, girl, don’t cry.
I’m glad that I
Had time to know you!
Vocals: Marcela Mikova
Guitars: Vojto Miko, Slavo Pecha Sr.
Special thanks for Julius Pecha for help with translation.
Below is an example of traditional Roma Halgato music.