Various Artists

The Rough Guide to the Music of Hungarian Gypsies

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Driven from central and northwestern India and gradually pushed into Europe by various belligerent religious, ethnic, or national groups, the people who called themselves the Roma adapted to ever-changing surroundings without ever becoming fully assimilated into established societies. Some Europeans referred to them as "Gypsies" because they thought the Roma originated in Egypt. The people of Hungary, where the Rom first appeared during the 14th and 15th centuries, called them Czigany, and as the Rom learned to speak Hungarian they also became known as Romungros. Each country, from Rajasthan to France, Spain, and Slovakia, inadvertently fostered a different set of cultural dynamics with distinctive musical attributes. In 2008 The Rough Guide to the Music of Hungarian Gypsies supplemented the world's growing library of traditional and contemporary Romany recordings. Guitars and the Hungarian cimbalom predominate along with passionately expressive voices, string bass, violin, reeds, brass horns, percussion, accordion, and anything else at hand. The music reflects the joys and sorrows of the human condition in general, and the Romani condition in particular.

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