'Café Jew Zoo' -
'... beautifully sung by Elizabeth Schwartz.'
It was in a summer fourteen years ago that I first met Yale Strom, during one of his many visits to Eastern Europe. I was thirteen years old then, and little did I know that Yale was going to be such an inspiration and supporter of my dreams and career.
Yale was collecting Gypsy music and taking photos for a book. His aim was to raise awareness in the West about the Rom communities from Europe (mainly Eastern Europe), about the marginalization of the Roma people, about their culture and telling their stories and their views of the world.
Being Roma myself, I could not believe that a 'gaje' (Roma term for a foreigner) would record on tape and paper the Gypsy music (most of Rom history and music is passed down from generation to generation orally)!
Yale has done extensive research of Jewish and Gypsy music throughout Europe, recorded old songs in danger of being lost, studied the influences that the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires had on the local music (Romania, Ukraine) and more than that, he composed his own music, using klezmer and Gypsy characteristics (modes, rhythms, instrumentation).
Copyright © 14 February 2006
Ioana Osoianu, London UK