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Shakira, Gogol Bordello, D.J. Shantal and the history of the Gypsy song

Updated on September 9, 2014

Shakira, Gogol Bordello, D.J. Shantal and some Gypsy history with a song -- all about the Romany people

The Gypsy song has been always quite popular. With all the hype lately around the rediscovery of Gypsy music, groups like Gogol Bordello, Gypsy bands from Eastern Europe like the Taraf of Haidouks, Fanfare Ciocarlia or singers like Shakira performing Gypsy songs reminded the world the passionate music of the people called Gypsies.. D.J. Shantel from Germany also brought to the public Gypsy music by his Award winning mix of Gypsy songs.

The good news about it is that the little known Gyspy nation and its rich, colorful, fabulous culture gets exposure and is saved from being the anonimous entertainer that it has been until now and that an individual artist performing Gyspy music will have a chance to personal recognition.

From Shakira to the original Gypsy songs there is a history of centuries.

The formal terms for Gypsies are: Romani, Romany, Roma, Roms, Romane. Romany people resent being called by the various names given to them in the national languages of the countries where they are settled. As an example: in Hungary they are called ciganyok, in Romania : tzigani. A better known name for Gypsies is Gitano, the Gitans or Gitanos -- from the name used in Spain.

I will use the more known name of Gypsies, not out of respect but because that is how most of the people in the world would search for them on the net. Gypsy is a beautiful word anyway, a symbol for the freedom of spirit withstanding against all odds.

Gypsies are a colorful and happy people. The history of Gypsies as a nation is little known as they have no country to call it their own and have no financial/political support that a comprehensive scientific project would require as the Gypsy history covers a space and time too wide to be easily researched. It all started long before Shakira was born, or Gogol Bordello were playing Gypsy.

The Romale worldwide have an unifying Anthem known under the names Gelem Gelem, Jelem Jelem, Djelem Djelem, Dzelem Dzelem.

Gypsy caravan photo by imthehoneybee on Photobucket.

Various versions of the Romani Anthem Gelem Gelem -- it is sung all over the world by the Romale - Dzelem Dzelem -- Djelem Djelem -- Gyelem Gyelem by Zarko Jova

The Gypsy Romani Anthem has been composed by Zarko Jovanovic and adopted by the delegates of the first World Romani Congress in 1971. There are countless interpretions -- all so beautiful that is hard to choose one for the purpose of illustrating here. I just post a random list and a few videos.

The Gypsy -- Romani -- Anthem sung by Gypsies - Gelem Gelem in an old original recording -- a specific Romani rhythm

Gypsies seem to care less about their past history then the present history and their songs. They survived throughout the centuries as a nation and they will do so in the future as well. Their sense of belonging to the community is not only strong but it is the most important value that makes a true Gypsy to be what he or she is. They wear their costumes as a symbol of their Romanipen (Gypsyness) and they sing their songs about how they feel and that keeps them together as a community.

The beautiful Russian Gypsy Love Story with Rada and Zobar - The movie "Gypsy Caravan" takes you into a love story with Gypsy music on the soundtrack

It is unfortunate that the history and the rich cultural heritage of Gyspies are not properly documented and preserved, except some passionate individual research and compilation. Gypsy songs and dances are kept alive though by the love of the public in all the places they live, overlaying and mixing in many cases with the local folklore. The former Soviet Union was one of the few countries where Gyspy music and dance has been officially described as separate cultural entity and given consideration by establishing a special Gypsy musical school and musical institutions - groups officially performing Gypsy songs.

The Gypsy Romani Anthem Gelem Gelem -- Djelem Djelem -- Dzelem Dzelem in Lovari Romani -- Gyelem Gyelem lyrics - The Romani -- Gypsy -- Anthem -- lyrics in vari

Gelem Gelem in various dialects and translation into different languages. Further down the article you will find the Gelem Gelem chords for most instruments played by the Gypsies.

Gypsies started their history of migration between 500 and 1000 AD from India

The Gyspies have been a nomadic nation of tribes. Centuries ago, they have been mistakenly thought to come from Egypt, because of their dusky skin - that is the reason of the name "Gypsy", from Egyptian. The truth though is that they came from India. Their colorful costumes, their features, their jewelry, their artistic nature, their love of songs and dance, even their careless attitude for material possessions, all points to the common ancestry with the peoples of India. Set out to travel, they became excellent horsemen. The Gypsy men took their families from India through Asia and Europe and would have kept traveling to the end of the world and back again, would it not have been the different countries in Europe that have tried to settle them and absorb them into their societies. Their songs are affected by the struggle for survival. By the influence of the various local songs of the peoples they came into contact Gypsy music became the distinct passionate music that is recognizable from all other musics. Gypsy songs are a musical illustration of their strong national identity, that of love for freedom, for life.

Gyspy songs have a distinctive musical identity

The traditional costume for Gypsy women includes several layers of colorful skirts and patterned shirts. The traditional hairstyle is braided with beads and gold or silver coins woven into them.

Modern Gypsy girls are wearing the latest fashion items always chosen for their striking appearance and colors. Their clothes always look a bit like costumes and it suits them well

More Russian Gypsy songs -- open your heart and listen - Russian Gypsy music at its most beautiful interpretation.

feel the passion for freedom and love brought to you all by the Gypsy music.

As Gypsies split by tribes and choose a certain area to more or less settle, their skills were used to entertain the local population. Great musical talents, Gypsies were singing their songs and accompanied themselves on various instruments. Gypsies took on elements from the various local musics as they played for crowds and parties and embedded them into their own songs. Favorite instruments were the violin, the accordion, but also the brass instruments in some regions of Europe like Serbia or the guitar in Spain.

Gypsy songs contain elements of the various musics of the countries they have settled

Gypsies from each country developed their own distictive musical line.

Gypsy songs from the various countries of Europe have a distinctive personality. One could never confuse Gypsy songs from Russia, with Gypsy songs from Romania, Hungaria, Serbia, Turky, Macedonia, Italy, Ireland, etc.Gypsy music melted into the local songs of the countries where Gypsies settled.

Russian Gypsy songs -- the Romany in Russia

Russian Gypsy music is one of the most melodic Gypsy music Great artists, composers, writers, poets, in the past as well in the present got inspired by the tunes of the Russian Gyspy songs. Russian singers, whether of Gypsy origin or not, include most of the times Gypsy songs in their repertoire.

Instrumental artists show their virtuosity by playing Gypsy songs and always amaze a grateful public.

The Russian Gypsy song -- ever popular - Rromany singers performing

Russian Gypsy singers of the Gypsy songs are popular over the world. Russian music companies established outside Russia are performing Russian Gypsy songs and dances. Great Russian Gypsy music companies are operating in the US as well as in the whole of Europe, performing sometimes in concerts on the famous stages or specialized clubs for Gypsy music.

The Hungarian traditional csardas dance became a favorite rhythm for Gypsy songs - At the end, a beautiful Gyspy song of sorrow.

Whenever they shortly stopped near a community or other, people accepted their presence knowing that they will go further after a while, so everybody just enjoyed the adventure to have them informal neighbors for a little time: the Gypsy men traded horses, made gold and silver jewelries or brass pots and sold them to the locals. Gypsy women were telling the fortunes to the local ladies and maidens, gave traditional medicines for real or imaginary illnesses or cast small spells for those who had a bone to pick with some relative.

When the caravan disappeared one day, not few from the community missed their songs and the short period of excitement that the Gypsies used to bring with themselves.

I am posting some old Gypsy songs from Hungary, well known and loved by Hungarians and also some new Gypsy songs for party times.At the end, a beautiful sad Gypsy song of sorrow, as Gypsies have their sad stories too, as any of us has.

Hungarian Gypsies and their songs -- tzigani muzsika

Although many tried to tame the Gypsies, no one ever has. They are a nation of indomitable free spirit, refusing to adapt to values that are foreign to their own traditions. They rather give up on comfort than enroll themselves into the ranks of a formal society and refuse to accept the restrictive limitations that many countries proposed to impose on them. During the centuries, Gypsies were forced to settle by Governments but many of them rebelled and kept up the custom of traveling and living on the road, earning their livings by their art and singing their songs.

Through Europe, Gypsies settled in Serbia too on the route further

Whenever the Gypsy travelers shortly stopped near a community or other, people accepted their presence knowing that they will go further after a while, so everybody just enjoyed the adventure to have them informal neighbors for a little time: the Gypsy men traded horses, made gold and silver jewelries or brass pots and sold them to the locals. Gypsy women were telling the fortunes to the local ladies and maidens, gave traditional medicines for real or imaginary illnesses or cast small spells for those who had a bone to pick with some relative.

When the caravan disappeared one day, not few from the community missed their songs and the short period of excitement that the Gypsies used to bring with themselves.

Gypsy music is deeply routed into the Romanian culture -- sunt romi si cantecele lor romanesti

It is unclear how Gypsies are organized nowadays, across borders and legislations. The community keeps together, all speak the same language, although in dialects. I wish the Gypsies would protect and preserve what's so beautiful about their music and nature. I believe they will do, knowing the passion and pride the Gypsies consider themselves part of one great nation. They deserve to, for their love of freedom.

Find Romanian Gypsy music and movies on Amazon -- sunt romi, mai, nu tzigani! - Muzica tiganeasca clasica -- classical Gypsy songs on Amazon

The word Romanian is not related to the name of the Gypsy nation, Romales, or the Roma people, as some people mistakenly would think. It is a coincindence of names. Romanians are believed to be descendants of the former Romans (European population living in and around Rome, currently in Italy) who occupied the region 2000 years ago formerly known as Dacia, situated roughly where currently Romania is as a country. The Roman soldiers mixed with the local population and colonized the area. The descendants of them and the local ladies formed the nation that is known today as Romanians. There are many Roma though in Romania, living as minority nationals together with the Romanians.

Spanish Gypsies, the Gitanos, are famous for their songs - The Gitanos and their songs -- a landmark for Spanish entertainment

It is unfortunate that the Gypsy culture is undergoing a severe misrepresentation. The music industry, always in need of new and exotic trends, discovered the Gypsy potential. Hopefully they will go further with the trend and bring forward more of the hidden treasures of the genuine Gypsy music and the beautiful Gypsy songs. The Gitanos are an important branch of the Gypsy music -- Gitanos singing made the delight of the world long before Shakira

Gitanos -- the Spanish Gypsies -- on Amazon - Gitanos and their wonderful music is well known in the whole world

Find your favorite Gitanos on Amazon singing Gypsy songs.Spanish Gypsies are known under the name Gitano, Gitanos, in Spanish.

Legends Of Gypsy Flamenco
Legends Of Gypsy Flamenco

Spanish Gitanes singing the famous Flamencos


Gitano music -- the Spanish Gypsy Flamenco - The Spanish Gypsies -- Gitanos playing Flamenco

Flamenco is popularly known as being the music of Andalusian Gitanos -- Gypsies, but historically its roots are in mainstream Andalusian society, in the latter half of the 18th century. Other regions like Extremadura and Murcia, have also contributed to the development of flamenco. Many flamenco artists have been born outside the Gitano community. Flamenco is a style of music and dance which is native to several regions of the Southern part of Spain.

Along with its Romani origins, Spanish, Byzantine, Sephardic and Moorish elements are also considered to have contributed the development of flamenco.

Irish Gypsies singing their songs-- the Romany from Ireland

Irish people and the Gypsies had a common enemy to fight; powerty and a harsh landscape. They both found many a times their hopes kept up by the songs they love.

Gypsy musical influence in France and the Gitanes cigarettes - Gitans -- the Gypsy men, and Gitanes, the Gypsy women and Gitanes for the cigarettes

In French the name for Gypsies is Gitan for the Gypsy male and Gitane for the Gypsy female. The French also gave the name Gitanes for a blend/brand of cigarettes -- very popular at the stage when people used to smoke a lot. Nowadays, with all the campaign for the cigarettes being harmful for health, less people smoke cigarettes -- and they try to find blends that are milder. The Gitanes are very strong -- quite smelly -- but a good tobacco, a real delight for the real smoker. For some reason, the French Gypsies did not get their music that much in the public awareness, as other Gypsies did in the Eastern regions of Europe.

French Gypsies in movies

Turkish Gypsy songs are musical support for the popular bellydance, performed by men as well as women

The Turkish Gypsies have been recently recognized as a minority by the Turkish authorities. They are part of the melting pot of cultures in a space where so many roads crossed throughout history. Gypsies appeared in Constantinople before 1000 AD.

Learn Bellydancing and see the bellydancers

Traditional Gypsy magic, spells and reading - Gypsy culture has plenty elements of magic and mystery for an outsider

Gypsy magic became a symbol on itself -- and its based on the Gypsy traditions own symbols. Gypsy symbols used for Tarot card reading or dream reading/interpretation are wrapped in mystery.-- the good fortune of the internet resources give a chance to learn more about them.

Last but not least, the Gypsies from India

Last but not least, the music where it all started. Gypsy songs from India, from which all the others originated. They are the living proof of where Gypsies from all over the world can trace their commom ancestors. India is the place where the Gypsy songs have been born.

Gypsy Festivals in the world with plenty Gypsy songs -- where the Romany people meet up - best go yourself and hear the genuine Gypsy song

Gypsies from all over the world organize festivals -- mostly based om cultural grounds -- an international meetings of their scattered nation's leaders. They have nowadays professional young Romani interested to record historical and cultural facts, tales, traditions, customs and information about the Romani nation, to chart the various language differences, to study the Rroma dialects -- all that makes up any nations cultural background and helps preserving its identity. These Rromani festivals mare a good opportunity for the Rroma people to meet, socialize, sing, dance and interact. For the gadjo (non Rroma) they are an occasion to learn and enjoy Gypsy music and dance.

Let your heart listen

forget all your worries for a while!

Romani -- Gypsy symbols - Do Gypsies recognize any symbols?

The Gypsy culture does recognize Gypsy symbols -- the scattered Gypsy communities throughout the world relate to the same Gypsy symbols, creating the sense of unity of the Romani nation by some universally valid Gypsy traditions and signs.

Gypsy magic items on eBay

Do Gypsies have magic powers? We can not be certain -- but surviving harsh conditions and many times a hostile environment among strangers surely taught them a lesson or two!

Gypsy Pilgrimages and Festival where the original Gypsy songs are played and sung - Romale attend the Romani festivals to forge closer relationships

Scattered over the world, the Gypsies have a few occasions when they come together and enjoy traditional music, dance and catch up with news from the Romales worldwide. The Santes Marie de la Mer in Cmarague.

Saint Sara, set us on the right path,

give us your beautiful luck and give us health.

et donne-nous de la santé.

And if someone thinks bad of us,

change his heart

so that he thinks good of us.


Gypsy tattoos - Do Gypsy tattoos have a special meaning?

Gypsy tattoos are said to bring good luck -- good fortune. It is not documented how they work -- but they are certainly the pride of their wearers -- and just in case they bring good luck, that is a bonus!

Romani Dictionaries on Amazon - Romani Gypsies sing in their language -- learn Romani to understand what they sing

The Romani language has developed dialects as the communities are living amond various local language speaking peoples. However, the Romani language as a whole has preserved its unity -- the Rroma understand each other no matter which part of the world they are coming from.Romani Dictionaries are a help to keep records and show the differences between dialects.

Famous people of Gypsy -- Romani -- origin. A MUST READ! - This section must stand out for the readers for its important information

There is a long list of people that became famous for their extraordinary achievements in their field of professional activity. Arts, and especially music is only one of them. Names well known world wide like Elvis Presley, Yul Brynner, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Michael Caine, Gheorghe Zamfir,Azucar Moreno, Django Reinhardt, Ion Voicu and many more are just a few of them. There is a Nobel Prize winner, Presidents of states, scientists, First ladies, dedicated international evangelists, war heroes, journalists, sportsmen and women -- most of them are proud of their heritage. The Gypsies adopt their host countries and feel as they are their own -- but the double belonging to a geographical place and an emotional or spiritual space as well will be present in their souls forever.

Gypsy by Shakira -- lyrics - The Gypsy lyrics for Shakira's Gypsy song

The lyrics to Shakira Gypsy song -- in English and Spanish

Gypsy songs inspired classical music - Great composers influenced by Gypsy music

Gypsy music has influenced a number of great composers that wrote masterpieces of classical music inspired by the Gypsy songs they grew up to hear and like as children. Dvorak, Brahms, Schumann, Sarasate, Kodaly are only a few names to mention. Their music is popular among classical music lovers and is performed frequently in concerts and it is not surprising -- the passionate rhythm of Gypsy songs is reaching through the boundaries of cultures and styles.

Gypsy symbols on eBay - Learning about Gypsy symbols -- learning about the Gypsies

Gypsy symbols have a magical power on our imagination -- a glimpse into the fascinating world of the Gypsy culture.

Russian Gypsy Songs for keeps -- the Romany in Russia

Russian Gypsy Soul: Fiery Gypsy Music at It's Best
Russian Gypsy Soul: Fiery Gypsy Music at It's Best

the music is actually gypsy style, rather than of traditional gypsy tunes, with sometimes a Django jazzy feel and other times a nostalgic lament washed down with vodka. Their music is so wide in scope that they can sound like a Fellini soundtrack. They can play a sensuous tango, a romantic ballad, or, yes, a fast gypsy dance. True Romany music.


Say something! Is there anything else on Gypsy music that you want to share?

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    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      I believe that I must have been raised with some gypsy music in my blood. These gypsy songs seem to be similar to ones which I was raised listening to. Delightful and thank you so much for sharing this.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have never met anyone who was Gypsy but have always enjoyed their uplifting music. I was surprised to learn that they actually came originally for India but that does make sense with their wonderful use of color. Wonderfully and delightfully done, that beautiful purple star is very well deserved!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on the Purple Star my friend. Surely well deserved and it is nice to listen to good gypsy songs every once in a while! Hope you get to have a ball listening to them! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on the Purple Star my friend. Surely well deserved and it is nice to listen to good gypsy songs every once in a while! Hope you get to have a ball listening to them! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      hai ca vad ca tare iti mai plac tiganii -- sa-ti dea si tie Dumnezeu cativa aproape!

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! I have always enjoyed Gypsy music and gypsies...I remember in Germany when they came to town in horse drawn wagons selling their wares, including horse meat on a stick(my first taste of horse meat) I love their Music made up of so many ethnic sounds...just wonderful. My friend a Missionary lives in Slovakia and ministers to Gypsies, they are still persecuted (hard to believe)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love that type fo music. thank you for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on your purple star. So wonderful lens I've ever visited. I love both of Gypsy music and all of them. Have a wonderful time..always :)

    • archangelptx profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on the purple star and on having such an interesting and captivating lens!

    • BlackHeart1 profile image

      Ricardo Montrose 

      7 years ago

      You made it!! You submitted this lens for the top Music Lens section and you made it to the top 5 ... Be sure to go check this page: on the first of the month to see what your position in the top 5 is and donât forget to tell your friends and visitors about it too

      Oh but it's not over!!! CONGRATULATION you also made it to the top 5 lens overall section too⦠check it out here on the first

    • kguru1979 lm profile image

      kguru1979 lm 

      7 years ago

      A very new and different lens .. nicely made... !

    • AllAboutTea profile image


      7 years ago

      What an informative lens! I think I'll have to read it another few times to take it all in!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a wonderful lens this is. A tribute to one of the most colourful people.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a wonderful lens this is. A tribute to one of the most colourful people.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I LOVE Gypsy Music. Thankis for this lens


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