When asked about their favorite songs to perform, most members of the Luna Kecerovce band answered this one, Phen mange mamo (Mama, Tell Me). This was obvious during the recording session – all the musicians lit up when they played it. “I love the bossa nova jazz style, the rhythm is catchy!” says Ondrej Pecha, one of the guitar players.
This simple scene – a young girl comes to her mother for romantic advice – is an insight into Roma culture. In a tightly-woven community that honors family ties, the deep relationship between child and parent is lifelong. It’s not just about outwardly showing respect. Even into adulthood, Roma will come to their parents for advice about everything from work to marriage and parenting. “I always go to my mama for advice,” says guitarist Slavo Pecha, Jr. “She’s my guide through life.”
Almost no topic is off-limits – especially romance! “Love is not a taboo subject among Roma,” says Julius Pecha, family member of the group and consultant on the Roma Voices Project. “We’re always talking about who we like and who we don’t like, who we find attractive, and who we’d declare our love to!”
Phen mange mamo (Mama, Tell Me)
Original author unknown, this recording by Luna Kecerovce, 2020.
Phen mange mamo so te kerav,
kaj man te kamel koda čhavo.
Igen les kamav,
rado les dikhav.
Ov hela miro pirano.
Sar leske dikhava andro jakha,
že ov man nakamel!
Mama, tell me what I should do,
To make this boy love me?
I love him very much,
I love to see him.
He’ll be my dear one.
But when I look into his eyes,
I can tell
That he doesn’t love me!
Vocals: Patrik Ferčak, Erik Vidlička
Guitars: Slavo Pecha Sr., Slavo Pecha Jr., Ondrej Pecha
Cajon: Adam Pecha
Special thanks to Julius Pecha for translation assistance.