Gypsyjazz History (1/3)

    Gypsyjazz History (1/3) – To understand how the music-style of “Jazz Manouche” or “Gypsyjazz” (also known under the name “European Jazz”) came alive, one must learn a bit about the history of the Sinti & Roma.

    Gypsyjazz History (1/3)

    According to the oldest records the people of the Sinti are descended from the Indians. They lived and worked in India from possibly in the 5th century, already at that time known as famous musicians. The writings say that they often used to play at the courts of the maharajas at that time.

    Until one day they fell from grace for some unknown reason and therefore were expelled from the country. (Although some Sinti deny this version, however, other secure knowledge also do not exist).

    Sinti and Roma already lived in Europe for many centuries. In some countries they are old-established and historically grown minorities. They have been long integrated citizens working and living next door, even some of them where fighting as soldiers for the german army in the 1. and beginning of 2. worldwar. In the “Third Reich”, the period of the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, they were expelled from army and brought into the Concentration-camps, same as the jews. Over 700.000 Sintis and Roma have been killed in these camps.


    The Gypsies living in Germany are called “Sinti“. In East- and Southeast Europe – where their number is by far much bigger – they´re known as “Roma“. In France one speaks of “Manouches” or “Bohemians“, in Spain again they are named “Gitanos“.

    Gypsyjazz History (1/3)

    Although their origin is from the same tribes out of the landscape of “Sindh” (which is a part of India in the northern territory, near the border to Nepal), the names used for them evolved over time also thru the local languages and slangs in the countries they travelled.

    Indeed, the name concept “Sinti(s)” (or before “Zigeuner” in german) is also afflicted at the same time with misinterpretation. As so called “Sinti” always mostly have been and still are the musicians in the different “Gypsies”-Tribes.
    Thus there were many different names for the different professional guilds available among the Gypsy-communities. There were the so-called “Kalderescha” (from Kaldera = kettle), which were the boiler-makers and blacksmiths amongst them. There were also all kinds of different names for wicker-workers, for traders, musicians (Sintis), horse dealers and animal traders etc.
    Of course also other professions amongst Sintis were practised especially for “making a living”, but the majority used to be and still are musicians until today.

    Gypsyjazz History (1/3)

    That said the name “Sinti and Roma” used today is only one collective name which encloses a huge number of groups.

    However, the german term for “Gypsy” (Zigeuner) is a foreign name which is rejected by many members of the minority (as well as by us) meanwhile as rather discriminating.

    “The word “Gypsy” or “Gipsy” is a foreign name which seems to exist in similar form in many European languages. The exact origin of the common-European Ethnonyms is unsafe and mythical. In german language the german word “Zigeuner” (Gypsy) national-etymologically and erroneously was made up from “Zieh-Gäuner” and became falsely reinterpreted as „(around) moving crooks“. Today this name “Zigeuner” is often rejected as negative loaded.”

    On the basis of linguistic investigations could be proved that the original origin of the “Sinti and Roma” lies in India, because their language, the “Romanes”, is very close to the old-indian language of Sanskrit.

    (Source: Wikipedia)

    In the course of the centuries own fiction dialects developed in the respective homelands of the Sinti and Roma, thus also in the case of the German “Sinti”. Their original language “Romanes” is still used within the families beside the respective national language as the second mother tongue.” (Source Wikipedia: History of Sinti and Roma).

    Read more -> JM-History (2/3)

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