Gypsy Road: Musical Migration India to Spain
There are a wealth of compilations of Gypsy music out there, many that "follow the Gypsy route" from northern India to far western Europe. Latcho Drom is musically the best of the bunch, a film soundtrack with lush musical landscapes and live recordings, although in keeping with the wordless quality of the film there are gorgeous photos but not a word in the booklet, save for artist names and titles. Zingari: Route of the Gypsies, a collection of recordings made by musicologist Deben Bhattacharya, is equally musical, and more scholarly. La Route Des Gitans rummages through the vast Auvidis catalog and is great music, is of mediocre recording quality, and again is lacking in much in-depth information.
The Gypsy Road is another addition to this Rand McNally of Gypsy music compilations. The 14-track album opens with Robin Thierry's virtual anthem of Rom music, "Pundela," with the phenomenal young Rajasthani vocalist Gulabi Sapera, and then wanders around most of Europe. Artists you may not have heard before include the incredible, hot Hungarian vocal group Kalyi Jag and the more staid but charming Acquaraiga Drom from Italy. Familiar names include Taraf de Haïdouks (Romania) and Yuri Yunakov (Bulgaria/New York); the CD also contains some Gypsy pop by Casta (Spain) and Energipsy (France). An historic piece from Turkish Rom fiddler Kemani Cemal is a highlight. The liner notes are good and include lyrics. All the material comes from existing recordings, most readily available, so if you own one of the other "road" albums or a good collection of the full bands, you probably don't need this. If you are just discovering Rom music, however, this is an excellent place to start. --Louis Gibson