Sako džanel (Everyone Knows)

by | Mar 19, 2021 | EN, Mikovci EN, Songs

Some traditional Roma songs like this one are heavy and sad.  They express Roma identity, the harsh realities of life, and faith that things can be better.  Maybe in this song you can hear echoes of spirituals from African American history – songs born out of hard times.

The words and the melody portray the more difficult parts of the Roma experience.  They have faced oppression and exclusion throughout their history.  Nearly 500,000 Romani died in the Holocaust, which in the Roma language is called porajmos, “the devouring.”  Today, many European Roma face lives of generational poverty and discrimination.  

Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV). If that’s true, God is surely near the Roma people. “We Roma know what it means to have difficulties,” says Vojto Miko, who plays guitar on this track.  “We have problems.  But the Roma are a good people.  With God’s help we will survive.”

A song is only words and notes until it is performed, and this performance shows off the expressive voice of Miko’s daughter, Marcela.  He’s taught his children the art of music from the time they were very young.  But Miko points out that in Roma music, expression always takes first place.  “It’s not just about skill,” he says.  “What’s more important is the feeling you put into it.  That’s how I teach my children – to feel the music.”

Sako džanel (Everyone Knows)
Traditional Roma song, this recording my Mikovci

Sako džanel mišto
so o dživipen hin,
so amenca devla,
so amenca hin.

Save roma lačhe sam,
Amen roma lačhe sam.
Le devlestar sam.

Everyone knows well
What life is like,
What it’s like for us, God,
What it’s like for us.

How good the Roma are,
That’s what we’re like.
We are God’s children!

Vocals: Marcela Mikova
Guitars: Vojto Miko, Slavo Pecha Sr.

Special thanks to Julius Pecha for translation help.

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