Song from I Met Happy Gypsies, sung for 200 years by the band of Uila


A version of the song Gelem Gelem known in Romania as Anthem of the Roma, which became extremely popular after the release of the Russian film I Met Happy Gypsies, in 1967, was sung by the members of the band of Uila for more than 200 years, according to the actor and journalist Rudolf Moca.

Rudolf Moca, known as Rudy Moca, coming from this ethnic group, said that he made this discovery more than 20 years ago, when he went to Uila, the County of Mures, to look for the “gypsy band”, as the band in the locality was known, who sang traditional songs handed down from generation to generation.

“I found the Gypsy band, made up of four people, with four traditional instruments. But the people were old, they were old persons, and I asked if they still knew the old Roma songs from 200-250 years ago. One of them, who was the older, said he remembered it from his grandfather, but he recommended that I go to an old gypsy woman who, at that time, was 83 years old (…) She sang a stanza from a doina-like song that began exactly how the Roma Anthem begins, only in a dialect that is linguistically, phonetically similar and has the same translation. I left the house and immediately sang it on the recorder to record the song,” Rudy Moca told the press.

“After I recorded the first stanza on the microphone, I came home and, being very good friends with Madalin Voicu (Romanian musician and politician of Roma ethnicity, ed. n.), I gave him the music tape and asked him to see what is it about this song because it’s very, very beautiful, I remembering that the Roma from Iernut used to sing this doina at the party. He gave me a phone call that he found the song, wrote it down and found it in the national audio library signed by the musicologist George Sbarcea, who traveled a lot and collected folklore, signed with the pseudonym Claude Romano and with a notice sent to Antonescu (Ion A., military officer, who presided over two dictatorships as prime minister and Conducator during WWII, ed. n.) in which he writes: ‘Marshal, I am sending you the Roma Anthem.’ Later, when I learned about the Roma Anthem and the song that was first sung by Oliviera Vuco in the film “I met happy gypsies” (released in 1967), there was an extraordinary similarity between that song and this song, but not necessarily the words, but the same idea, meaning and message,” Rudy Moca emphasized.

He says that he began to ask himself questions about the origin of the Roma Anthem, which he says is a doinit song, with lyrics with a strong meaning of uniqueness and the power to overcome any difficulties and to live.

“The song is passed down from generation to generation (…) Everyone recognizes that they come from the same ethnicity, no matter how many hundreds of years have passed, but everyone has diversified so much in the stratification of the groups they belong to, that now there are almost no groups on its own, although this is also best seen in their culture and especially in the usual language of communication they use. An extraordinary diversity, but I admit, they have the same root, instead very, very diversified (. ..) This is what I found and I was extremely happy because it is a matter that the world doesn’t know about and probably wasn’t even interested in, not even musicologists and probably not even sociologists or researchers,” the journalist said.

Rudy Moca claims that he wanted to find out how many types of Roma music exist and he even stratified the music of this ethnicity in the form of cultures: “the cult of wandering, the cult of loneliness, the cult of prisons (and not for deeds that contravene the laws, but because they were put in prisons, just as they were slaves), the cult of love, the cult of hope, the cult of begging or the cult of curses, but not in that negative, pejorative sense, but in the sense of oral folklore that was sung in a certain period”.AGERPRES(RO – author: Dorina Matis, editor: Marius Fratila; EN – editor: Maria Voican)

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