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New York Gypsy Festival Returns In 2008 As The Droma Gypsy Festival
Published September 22, 2008

The established festival will now be held at the emerging East Village Club.


 Consolidating three years of history into nine-day stretch, the Droma Gypsy Festival 2008 (previously the NY Gypsy Festival) will take place from September 24 to October 3 this year at only one location, the East Village venue Drom. After having held the eclectic festival at numerous locales over the years, including Symphony Space, Central Park’s De La Corte Theater, and Joe’s Pub, Drom will serve as the ideal host for this celebrated gathering of some of the most important Gypsy and Gypsy-influenced artists in the world today. The fourth edition of the festival will feature 20 bands and DJs as well as belly dancers from across the planet.


“This year we felt the music and the spirit would be better presented at one single venue,” said festival co-producer Serdar Ilhan. “The festival will continue the tradition of presenting the amazing world of Gypsy music to New York audiences at Drom.”


While the romanticized labeling of the term “Gypsy” has lent the term rather ambiguous connotations, the artists partaking in the festival are well aware of the social and sonic importance of the word. By its very nature, “Gypsy” implies multiculturalism, given the vast stretches of land the nomadic dwellers have covered over the last 700 years. This open-eared globetrotting has come to fruition with acts like Turkey’s Baba Zula, whose ritualistic performances meld art, belly dancing, elaborate costumes, poetry and theater into one magnificent audio-visual production.


Whereas Baba Zula mixes artistic forms, France’s Watcha Clan investigates the musical relationship between cultures through electronic means. The band’s evolutionary exploration of Tuareg, Sephardic, Arabic, and Mediterranean sounds is driven by their relentless fury of beats, not to mention singer Sista K’s beautiful vocals and undeniable presence. Another impressive female singer will appear at the festival via Berlin’s Dotschy Reinhardt. Fully aware her last name will give instant recognition due to her relative Django Reinhardt’s legendary work, Dotschy points to Joe Zawinul, Jobim and Sergio Mendes for her jazz- and Brazilian-inflected guitar and vocal performances.


Also arriving from overseas are France’s east/west jazz-fusion outfit Balval, and Denmark’s klezmerites Mames Babaganoush. Chicago’s Eastern Blok, which includes guitar virtuoso Goran Ivanovic, will also make the trek east for a special performance.