Sonia Tamar Seeman


Presenting “Gypsy“, Re-Presenting Roman:

Towards an Archeology of Aesthetic Production and Social Identity


In 1990s Turkey, three types of “gypsy” or in Turkish, “çingene” cultural representations were presented in popular media for consumption by non-“gypsy” audiences. One image represented the idea of “gypsy” as the comical, “loveable” (sevimli) everyman in the persona of Ciguli, a Bulgarian Roman accordionist whose Bulgarian name was Angel Popov. Ciguli’s fame skyrocketed with a video airing of a song released on his cassette in 1997, selling an estimated 300,000 copies within the first 6 months of release.




  1. Introduction: “Knowing” the “Çingene” (“Gypsy”)
  2. Historical and political context: “Çingene” and “Roman
  3. Ciguli: “Everyman” Roman as Embodiment of Ambiguity, Comedy and Social Reversal
  4. The Power of Social Ambiguity II: “Gypsy-as (Generic)-Urban-Disorder”
  5. Proverbial Realms of Iconic Representation: What’s In a Name?

"Ciguli" photograph

courtesy of Cem Kıvırcık as published in  March 19, 2004.

  1. Literar(y)/al Social Commentary I: “Gypsy-as-Nature” in the Early Turkish Republic Era
  2. Literar(y)/al Social Commentary II: “Gypsy-as-Nature” in the Early Turkish Republic Era
  3. Spiraling Back in the Relative Present: Logical Consistencies in “Çingene” Representations in the 1990s
  4. Roman Self-(Re)-Presentation: Song Lyrics of Roman Oyun Havaları
  5. Mehmet Ali Körüklü and Political Legitimacy: Empowering Regional Roman Music as ‘Folklore’
  6. Hüsnü Şenlendirici: Transforming Roman into ‘World Music’
  7. Conclusion and Questions: “Çingene”? Roman? The Power of Self-Designation.



Forward |M&A contents page| M&A home page