The Roma Anthem – Djelem Djelem

There are many, many great and cool pieces of music that hail from the Balkans.

It’s extremely difficult for me to say which are my favourites, or in fact which ones are better than the others.

Over the coming year I will be featuring some of these tracks/songs/tunes that I would like to introduce you to.

The first is Djelem Djelem, which loosely translated means, “I went I went”.

There are many versions of the song that you can find. The song is sung across the Western Balkans a lot. It’s in many artistes repertoires.

Djelem DjelemThis version is from a concert with the Croatian Group “Cubismo” and featuring the late Šaban Bajramović and Josipa Lisac.

A little more historical details courtesy of wkipedia:

“Đelem, Đelem”  (I went I went), is a song composed by Žarko Jovanović, often used as the anthem of the Romani people.

The title has been adapted in many countries by local Roma to match their native orthography and spoken dialect of the Romani language.

After experiencing firsthand the incarceration of Roma during the Porajmos (the Romani Holocaust of World War II), Jovanović later composed the lyrics of Đelem, Đelem and set them to a traditional melody in 1949.

The song was first adopted by delegates of the first World Romani Congress held in 1971.

Lyrics Translation:

I went, I went on long roads
I met happy Roma
O Roma, where do you come from,
With tents happy on the road?

O Roma, O Romani youths!

I once had a great family,
The Black Legion murdered them
Come with me, Roma from all the world
For the Roma, roads have opened
Now is the time, rise up Roma now,
We will rise high if we act

O Roma, O Romani youths!

Open, God, White doors
So I can see where are my people.
Come back to tour the roads
And walk with happy Roma

O Roma, O Romani youths!

Up, Romani people! Now is the time
Come with me, Roma from all the world
Dark face and dark eyes,
I want them like dark grapes

O Roma, O Romani youths!

Djelem Djelem

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