Djelem , which translates roughly as “Forward”, has been the official national anthem of the Gypsies since 1971. It appears in this volume along with ten other melodies from South Eastern Europe , with its fascinating interplay of the Sephardic, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Hungarian and Gypsy musical traditions. The themes of the pieces range from deeply sentimental to rousingly vivacious.
All the arrangements make use of the traditional techniques typical of this music and though easy to play sound convincingly authentic. They lend themselves well to contrasting instrumental formats and give the players leeway for their own ideas and interpretation. They sound most authentic when played with a clarinet, violin, guitar and bass. Their catchy dance rhythms and touch of Weltschmerz give rise to a sort of “Balkan blues”, heard to good advantage in the performances of the editor’s own ensemble, “The Blue Unicorn”.