Roma - Amplified Music: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Jan 12, 2011
Scientist: Carol Silverman

Roma - Amplified Music

Roma - Amplified Music
Roma music is eclectic, contemporary, and loud!

Roma - Amplified Music

Music; Ambience: popular Macedonian song , amplified "Roma wedding band", drum, horns

JM: The "Roma," or Gypsies, have inhabited eastern Europe for almost a thousand years, and they're renowned as versatile performers. But Roma are also known for their remarkable ability to weave elements of neighboring cultures into their own art and music. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

JM: A good example of this can be found in Roma "wedding music." Carol Silverman studies Roma culture, and teaches at the University of Oregon in Eugene. She says that over time, Roma musical groups absorbed diverse styles as they traveled throughout the Balkans.

CS: "Roma culture itself is quite open to outside influences, because Roma culture has survived by being adaptive. Many Roma groups in Eastern Europe were professional groups. Now when you're servicing patrons, you have to play the music they like, and so it's a very eclectic repertoire."

JM: The introduction of electrified instruments was probably the most important influence on today's Roma performers. Popular groups have pioneered an amplified fusion of western styles, and traditional Roma music. And they like to play it loud.

CS: "Amplification was introduced into all kinds of folk music, in the 1970's, and it caught on like wildfire because it was a symbol of modernization. Symbols of the West were coveted, like having a very loud amplification system at a wedding. Wedding music in general, was using riffs from jazz and rock which was also Western and considered forbidden. "

JM: Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.