Croatian American Cultural Center Logo
facebook  twitter  youtube


The 18th Annual California Herdeljezi Balkan Romani Music Festival

  Saturday , May 2, 2015         3:00 PM        $25, 20 in advance

Event Details

sazet_320Voice of Romas Herdeljezi Festival is a unique combination of a world class presentation of Romani arts and an educational event informing the public about Romani history, language, and culture. Festivals of "Gypsy Music" are usually stereotypical fantasies geared toward exoticism. VORs Herdeljezi, on the other hand, places music in its cultural and historical context, and treats Roma as real people with a living history. In addition to traditional live music and Balkan food, Herdeljezi 2015 will feature a panel on music, politics and human rights lead by Prof. Carol Silverman and a rare West Coast performance by Sazet Band.

Sazet Band, an eight-piece Romani wedding band from New York City comprised of Roma musicians from Macedonia, was formed in 2011 under the leadership of clarinetist extraordinaire Sal Mamudoski and dynamite saxophonist Romeo Kurtali. This high-octane band performs what it describes as a "New York City-style" of Romani music: traditional folk and Romani music from the Balkans (Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Greece and Turkey) with influences from classical, jazz, funk, and fusion styles of Western music. Sazet Band performs frequently for weddings and other community celebrations, and has appeared as part of the annual New York Gypsy Festival, and at Golden Festival, New Yorks largest Balkan music event. The musicians display superb technique, dazzling speeds, and soulful improvisations; the vocalist is a master of intricate ornamentation and melodic innovation. Instruments include clarinet, saxophone, keyboards, dumbek, and drum set. 

Sazet performers are also excellent teachers; they will lead workshops in Romani instrumental and song repertoire and styling as part of the festival program.

saniPanelist and Romani Dance Instructor, VOR co-founder, President, and Artistic Director Sani Rifati is a Rom from Kosovo who immigrated to the United States in 1993. Sani is a researcher and teacher specializing in Romani dances of the Balkans; he has taught at many international camps and festivals. Sani has broadened the scope of VOR events, organizing the 2002 Herdeljezi Benefit Concert in Kosovo and managing VORs Romani Routes national tours including Esma Redzepova (2004) , Yuri Yunakov (2007), and KAL (2006 and 2008). 

Panelist and VOR board member Carol Silverman is Professor of Folklore and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oregon with a specialty in Romani music in Eastern Europe and over twenty five years of publishing and lecturing. She served as the Educational Coordinator of the 1999 national tour, Gypsy Caravan: A Festival of Romani Music and Dance, and has at lectured many universities on Romani music, politics, and culture; her book Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora (2012. Oxford University Press) won the book prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. 

The mission of Voice of Roma (VOR) is to promote and present Romani cultural arts and traditions through festivals, workshops, performances and educational presentations that offer Roma (Gypsies) and non-Roma (Gadje) opportunities to explore the rich cultural heritage of Roma that dates back over a thousand years. VOR strives to counter both romanticized and negative Gypsy stereotypes, and in so doing, to contribute to the preservation of Romani identity and culture. VOR also works to heighten awareness of human rights issues faced by Roma in today's world, and to support efforts by
Roma to (re)build and maintain their communities, improve their lives, and to strengthen the Romani voice both nationally and internationally.Voice of Romas mission is accomplished through organizing and implementing cultural arts, educational, economic development, and charitable projects for and about Roma.

Voice of Roma's 18th Annual California Herdeljezi Balkan Romani Music Festival is supported, in part by The National Endowment for the Arts with the cooperation of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and the NYU Initiative for Romani Music.



3:00- 4:30 Romani singing workshop with Ferdi Demir - $20

4:30-6:00 PM:  Romani instrumental workshop with Sazet Band - $20

6:15- 7:15 PM:  panel discussion on Romani culture, music, history, and human rights with Kosovo Romani activist and dance teacher Sani Rifati and Carol Silverman, Professor University of Oregon - FREE

7:30-8:30 PM Romani dance workshop with Sani Rifati, followed by
8:30 PM: Dance party with live music by Sazet Band from NYC 
Dance workshop and party - $20 advance/$25 door

Delicious traditional Balkan/Romani food will be available for sale

Home  |  About Us  |  Events  |  Store  |  Contact