Please help me categorize my music in a respectful way!
It has recently been brought to my attention that some people are offended by the term Gypsy. So I wanted to share with you my perspective on it and the reasons why I refer to my music as Gypsy or Gypsy-influenced.
Like with every word in any language, I think it all depends on the context. I am sorry if you feel offended when you read my “Gypsy-Metal” posts. I never intended them to be hurtful or disrespectful. In this article I attempt to explain my perspective on this terminology.
Let’s begin with my story…
I have performed in the band titled Gypsy Flame Show for ten years with real Romani from Slovakia, Russia & Hungary.
We have performed at numerous events, parties, concerts and I got to be on television too, in Netflix’s Hemlock Grove Season 3.
Many of the people I worked with were banished from their countries for a superstition, for being gypsy. Yet, no one I have ever worked with was offended by this term. We danced, played instruments and sang together. I have always seen it as a sub-genre of folk music, not limited to band names such as Gipsy Kings, Gypsy Rebels, Gypsy Devils. Should they change their names?
As far as I am aware, the term “Gypsy” in North America, is referring to the nomadic lifestyle, not an ethnic group. It is not intended to hurt anyone. Music unifies people. Often times, when you refer to someone free spirited, who can not be tied down, you call them a gypsy soul. To me, it has always reflected in a traveler, wanderer, a freedom loving explorer.
Everyone I have ever performed with and for, enjoyed the experience and have never brought it up.
Perhaps my understanding of the concept is outdated; perhaps I have been ignorant? I truly have no idea! The above experiences took place in my life well prior to my social media presence. I didn’t even have a Facebook Page until 2014; not to mention how little I knew about marketing my music!
A lot has changed since and my personality matured, as did my music. I gained a new perspective on business. It is indeed about building a very personal relationship with your audience.
I guess you can also categorize my music as cinematic- Eastern- Slav- Romani- Shamanistic- metal-inspired. What would you call it? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Specially I am looking forward to hear from Roma people! Do we have any out here?
If you guys are out there and would love to speak up, I’d be so happy to interview you on my Podcast!
On a deeper note: I share the story in my music to bring your attention to this unique and rich culture of people who are still being unjustly exiled from their homes and forcefully castrated by their local doctors, still in the 20th century! If you remove all language, brutality and pain that comes with it – you are not telling the full story – instead you are doing a disservice to your people by silencing the terms and pain that existed for centuries.
In films we watch a ton of violence and offensive language – why? So we can see how bad it is and not do it in our reality! My music, like film and writing is telling a story of suffering, loss, love, bravery, strength overcoming obstacles, triumph and of joy altogether!!! Please have a listen! HERE ARE FREE DOWNLOADS OF ALL MY SONGS!!! You will also be receiving my emails asking to share your stories!!!
And then please tell me what you think my music should be named! Gypsy, Romani, Bohemian, Rhapsodian are some of the words that come to my mind.
Our society has become pre-occupied with terminology and political correctness. I understand the reasons behind it and the need for better definitions and better – more modern language! Tomorrow’s language will consider half of your vocabulary rude and inappropriate… However when does it become too much? When does it begin to hider the way we tell our stories?
According to this YouTube video the prediction is that our entire languages of today will make no sense for the future people a few hundred years ahead of us!!!
And that’s just the natural process of evolution which I completely support. However, when it comes to sharing our stories, “Gypsies” and other terms were real words, and they deserve a place in our stories.
Are you going to throw away the “N” word from the films and music about slavery? What about the huge music genre of R&B???
NO! Our mission as artists is to bring these violent behaviors to light; to reenact them and tell the full all-encompassing story in a way that absorbs its audience! How would you feel if you were treated this way? What is going through your head when you hear this track?
My grandpa often said: “Call me a pot – just don’t put me in the fire!”
I function by the principal:
Don’t play with words – show me what you do for your people! DO & ACT!!!
What do I do? – I TELL THE STORY!!! Being an artist – this is my primary purpose!
Do you think using the term Gypsy is disrespectful or do you think it has its place in the creative narrative of storytelling?
I look forward to your answers in the comments below!
Remember that you are stronger than you think! Do not define yourself according to terms set by others! The divine light lives in you and works through you!
Have a great day warriors!
~Vira, The Iron Fiddle Warrior
P.s. I recently found this article on the topic and I appreciate this insightful reference! 🙂
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