7. Endnotes


1. This research focuses on several communities located in the nomad camps in Bologna (S. Caterina, via Larga, via Agucchi, via Togliatti, and the welcoming centre of via Don Minzoni), Florence (Olmatello), Bressanone, Lecce, Messina (S. Raineri, Maregrosso), Paternò and Palermo (Favorita, via Messina Marina). The field studies have been integrated with videos filmed by the Roma themselves on the occasion of nuptial rites in Kosovo and Montenegro, as well as in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Parallel research was conducted on the rites of Macedonian Roma Khorakhané (camp of Bressanone), of Serbian Dasikhané(camps of Sasso Marconi, via Agucchi and via Togliatti in Bologna, of the Olmatello in Florence), of Bosnian Cergari (camps of S. Caterina, via Agucchi, via Togliatti in Bologna, and of via Messina Marina in Palermo), of Emilian Sinti (camps of Bargellino and Parco Nord in Bologna), of Roma in Southern Italy (camp of Abruzzese Roma in Casalecchio, near Bologna, and the Pescara settlement; settlements in Ruffano, Tricasi, Galˆtone in Salento; settlements in Cosenza, Lamezia, Reggio Calabria in Calabria). The results, still highly incomplete at this stage, will soon be brought together with results arising from a period of study in Kosovo and Montenegro.


2. A nomad does not have a fixed residence, whereas an ambulant has a home to which comes back from time to time, even though he or she may be on the road even for long periods of time.


3. This is indeed a distinctive feature of great importance. For example, the costumes and the cultural markers of the Dasikhané are related to those of the Serbs, although they maintain some specific traits; on the other hand, those of the Muslims are strongly influenced by Near Eastern, and especially Turkish, culture.


4. However, the word 'Gypsy,' which is imposed from outside, is considered offensive. In fact, it is only used in reference to other groups, with a derogatory meaning, as in "the Cergari are Gypsies; they are dirty, they steal, and they kidnap children." But even the Albanians kidnap children in the imagination of the Roma Shiptari. The old legend of the Gypsies who steal children changes the subject, yet even among the Roma it reveals a certain distrust and the need to emphasise the distance between themselves and their closest neighbors among the 'others.'


5. Often the word used to define the others is 'Indians', with reference not to India, but to Westerns. The Sinti in particular look at the incoming Roma as savages. But also the Roma distrust the Sinti, who are, in their opinion, dangerous people.


6. See Stewart 1995, which reaches the same conclusions on the issue of the definition of the identity of the Hungarian Vlach Gypsies. Okely (1983: 49) claims that the beliefs of the nomads of Great Britain cannot be considered in isolation from the larger society in which they live.


7. On the interactions between ethnic and social identities, and on the history of the crossbreeding between the Gypsies and non-Gypsy ambulant traders, see Acton 1985.


8. Some persons, among the Khorakhané Roma, have special capacity of clairvoyants and physicians. Often this capacity is accompanied by epilepsy or other illnesses that are linked to altered conditions of consciousness; often is learned in dream, from a dead ancestor that had the same capacity, according to the principles of the shamanism.


9. The most complete and clear description of the differences between Gypsies and gaje that I have ever heard comes from a young Roma woman from Montenegro who has been living in Bologna with her family since 1989. Moki (this is her real name) was talking about a young man who lives in the same camp. She was referring to him, scornfully, as a Shiptar (Albanian). I asked her what the difference was between her group and the Shiptari. She answered that the Roma speak Romani, whereas the Shiptari speak Albanian. "All right", I said "but if this is the only difference, why do you refer to them so scornfully/" "But it is because they are so different from us," she answered. "But different in what?" "In everything." "Do they have different habits, houses, or clothes?" "No, no, as we are, so they are." "Are their parties, weddings, baptisms, circumcisions, different from yours?" " No, as you have also noticed several times, our parties are like theirs, the musicians are the same. In fact, they play both for us and for them, and the dances are the same. Also, you know, it is common for a Roma man to marry an Albanian woman, or for an Albanian man to marry a Roma woman, and both groups participate to the same parties [the reference here is to the Albanian-speaking populations of Kosovo and Montenegro, not to the Albanian immigrants in Italy, who have no relationship with the Roma of the former Yugoslavia]." "So, how is it that they are completely different from you?" "Well, how shall I put it, we have more freedom." freedom in which sense?" "Our parties are more fun, and we dance "More better, they are like potato music is more beautiful." "Take Miria, for example [Miria is a woman bags, and our who used to live in does she dance?" "Oh, Miria is wonderful, as you have seen, the same camp]. How everybody looks at dances like her in this camp." "But is Miria a Romn"?" "No, her when she dances, nobody stupid, you dances well?" "Very well, as I just told you." "But if Miria, who is know she is a Shiptar." "And she an the difference?" "Listen, they live in the countryside, we live in the Albanian, dances very well, then where is cities." "That's not true, Moki, you told me many times that their houses are next to yours, side by side, in the same villages." "It's true, it is so." "And so?" "And so, she said at this point, losing her patience "how shall I explain it to you? Do you know the white dirty water that is left over, when the ricotta cheese has been made? They drink it." "And you don't?" "Yes, we do, but they drink more of it." Since it is hard to believe that the difference between Gypsies and the Roma of Montenegro and the Albanian groups of the gaje (in this case same region, but this account of the differences may be found among most Gypsies in their relationship with the gajeused to drink the whey, the conversation quoted above ) lies in the amount of whey that the two groups are is to be interpreted in symbolic, and not in terms as it is often the case when dealing with oral logico-analytic cultures. In her way, Moki has formulated a of the differences between the two groups which symbolic account is quite complete and effective. The Roma their parties are more beautiful, and they have play and dance well, more freedom because they are not tied to are shepherds and peasants. Even when they the land. The Shiptari do not engage in agricultural or to an agro-pastoral culture. In the way they pastoral activities, they still belong are portrayed by the ricotta cheese; they drink the whey; and they Roma, they live in the countryside; they make need the Gypsies for their parties.


10. On the subject of the professional musical activity of Roma, see Hoerburger 1966; Sarosi 1980; Dietrich 1983; Brandl 1966, Pettan 1966; Silverman 1966.


11. 'Lautari', like 'Calderash' or 'Ursari', is still the denomination of groups of Roma who distinguish themselves from others on the basis of the specialisation of their professional activities.

12. The Khorakhané musicians who live in Italy sometimes travel to Tunis to purchase instruments with the maqam system built in. Such instruments are produced by the big Japanese corporations for the Arab market. Normally Khorakhané musicians set the keyboard to play, on the white keys, a Doric scale ending on the finalis E flat. Thus, it is easier to play together with the contralto saxophone.


13. The name of the old instrument is often preserved in the new one. I have often heard the term surle used to indicate a Casio or Yamaha synthesiser.


14. On the Gypsy weddings in Macedonia, see Dunin 1971.


15. Not all elements of the ceremony are performed on every occasion. Some elements can disappear as a consequence of the differing customs of the village or of the family, or of particular situations. In case of weddings between two families that live close to one another, for instance, the elements surrounding the taking of the bride to the groom's home are shorter. Others elements can be added to the list mentioned, that includes only the most important and the most frequent ones. Moreover, some sections of the ritual can be performed with variations: for, instance, I saw the first time the 'Dance of the Fertilised Tambourine' performed by a family that, four years later, performed at another wedding feast in which they substituted the tambourine for a cloth bag.


16. The Khorakhané are very aware of the sexual connotations of the tambourine. When Suzana Berisa, the shaman who carried out one of the weeping ceremonies that have been the object of study, was asked whether the tambourine is played only by women, she answered: "It is played only by the women; but yes, the men also play it, (she laughs). If they play the tambourine it means that they are half men and half women. And when the men play the tambourine, they are better than the women, much better. And also my brother plays the tambourine, and he is a man, although he is not that way inclined. He learned [to play] when he was little, he always liked it, he liked it, he would always take it and play it, and so many know how to play it and are not 'half men'." In this account, the apparent contradiction of opposing sentences and the obvious use of parataxis concentrates both of the elements that belong to the ritual context onto a single level of communication. It also connects the symbolic role of the instrument with elements that belong to concrete experience: the tambourine is a female instrument which should be played by women. The fact that it is also played by men is underlined, marking the sexual inversion implicit in this action. Is not fortuitous that professional singers and appreciated tambourine players (and sometimes also keyboard, or accordion players) are often homosexuals, or men who have this reputation. This does not tend to happen (at least not so often) for saxophone players, since the saxophone is an instrument whose sexual connotation is undoubtedly (for the Roma) male.


17. In addition, the morphological and symbolic connections of tambourine with the sieve (whose frame is often constructed by a single maker, and is then covered by a skin, on the tambourine, or by a net, on the sieve) underline the relationship between weddings and the seasons.

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