When I was a kid, 3 fates came to me. One destined this, one destined that, and the youngest asked me, "When do you want an easy life? When you are old or young?" I said, when I am old. Because when I'm young I can carry life's bitterness.
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If you consider yourself a lover of World Music as I am, you owe yourself a major treat by seeking out 'When The Road Bends:Tales Of A Gypsy Caravan'. This is a glowing document of the Romani culture (or as it is known to most as the rather unfortunate label of Gypsy)in song and dance. It gives the viewer a brief overview of the Romani people, where they originally came from,and where they've ended up (and not without a great deal of prejudice & hatred by small minded people). Most of the film is a document of a tour that was organized by the independent record label, 'World Village',as an overview of Rom music from India,Spain,Romania,Macedonia,etc. Probably the best known personae representing Romani music is Esma Redzepova, who has been out there singing for well over 40 years, and is recognized by the United Nations for her humanitarian work with children,by adopting over 45 Rom children (pretty impressive so far, no?). The film also merits equal attention to Taraf de Haidouks,Fanfare Ciocarlia,to mention a few. The film besides being shot on tour in the U.S. & Canada, also features footage shot in the performers respective countries, and features interview footage with the musicians,as well. To sum it all up,this film is a celebration of a culture that has long been looked down upon with suspicion & prejudice. It reminded me a lot of another film in a similar vein (Tony Gatliff's 'Latcho Drom'--or,Safe Journey', from 1993,which also told the story of the Romani people,but in a wordless,almost cinema verite style that I admired big time). You may have to do a bit of searching for this one, as it is known by a few other titles,depending (it's also called Gypsy Caravan,or just 'When The Road Bends'). At the two screenings I attended, people were really getting their groove on with the music & dance in this film (especially the Flamenco segments). The soundtrack CD is also worth busting your wallet open for.
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