BUDAPEST SAMI-ROM PROJECT

2015 – 2016

Budapest Ritmo Festival wanted to host a workshop where Hungarian Rom musicians would collaborate with Sami musicians. Being partners in a Norwegian – Hungarian project supported by the EEA/EU, they approached Nedland Kultur and asked them to be the Norwegian partner of the project. Nedland Kultur agreed to plan and organise a workshop, concerts and a conference session during the 2016 Budapest Ritmo Festival. A group of three Hungarian and two Norwegian musicians participated.

Participants in the project: from Hungary: Tibor and Gustav Balogh and Jozef Csurkulya, Rom musicians known from bands such as Besh o droM and Romengo. From Norway: Georg Buljo, Sami artist, musician, and producer, (also a long time writing. performing and arranging partner with Mari Boine), and trumpet and electronica virtuoso Per Willy Aaserud.

The musicians met in Budapest some days before the festival, and started working on a selection of Rom and Sami music, which they molded into concert numbers that integrated both traditions in the same musical pieces, including both typical Rom singing styles, Sami joik, traditional guitar styles and cimbalom, as well as electronics and electric guitars. Concerts were held at two locations: One at the MÜPA Conference center, for an audience of Festival participants, and one at a stage put up at a Farmer’s Market in a Budapest suburb, where the Rom/Sami music blended in with stalls selling groceries, traditional arts and crafts, and specialist farm products. Performances for two very different types of audiences indeed, and two exciting and memorable concert experiences for the musicians.

Preparing for concert in the middle of the market.

Two fans watching rehearsals before the market concert.

In addition to the concerts, the festival program also included a conference session where Nedland Kultur presented a comparative study of Rom and Sami cultures, as minority cultures of different countries. There are many parallel problems and situations that are experienced by both of these minority peoples in their meeting with the majority culture of their respective countries. Culture and music may function as a vehicle for information and communication.