Roma festival can ‘strengthen bonds’ say organisers
SCOTLAND’S first festival celebrating the colourful cultural heritage of Roma people is to be held next weekend. The two-day event in Glasgow will offer a programme of concerts, talks, exhibitions and workshops from Roma artists based in Scotland.
Janos Lang, creative director of Ando Glaso, which is staging the festival, said traditional Roma culture still played an important role in Roma communities and families but often remained out of sight and unsupported.
“This unique festival is the first of its kind in Scotland, showcasing the colourful and often invisible Roma cultural heritage,” he said.
“We have found a large number of talent and cultural wealth amongst Scotland’s Roma communities and the festival will be a fantastic platform to showcase it.
“It will also allow us to bring people out of isolation and provide opportunities for visitors to meet Roma people and culture from a new and positive angle. We hope it will be the start of many future conversations, friendships and lots of fun.”
The programme will showcase performers, experts, and artists from the Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Spanish and the Scottish communities.
“We hope the festival will strengthen the bond between our fragmented communities as well as provide an opportunity for the wider public to connect with Roma people and culture currently present in Scotland,” said Lang.
Ando Glaso was established in 2016 by Roma volunteers to encourage greater understanding and participation in the cultural heritage of the Roma people in Scotland in order to stimulate and advance community cohesion built on respect for diverse cultural identities.
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and in partnership with the National Library of Scotland, Ando Glaso last year embarked on a 12-month journey to explore the cultural heritage of the various Roma communities around Scotland.
The finale of the project is the festival which will host the world premiere of a major new work commissioned by Ando Glaso as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories and funded by Museums Galleries Scotland.
Tales Of A Travelling Scotland will explore the cultural heritage of Scotland’s vibrant traveller community in the same way their history has been preserved and passed on for centuries - through music, songs and storytelling.
The piece will be performed by legendary storyteller Jess Smith accompanied by Kevin Whyte, Ian MacGregor and Ciaran Ryan.
Other highlights include concerts by the award-winning Daniel Martinez Flamenco group and the Glasgow-based band ZOR.