Various Gypsy Caravan: Music in and Inspired by the Film

Soundtracks from musical documentaries usually suffer under their own labels — they’re just bits and pieces, excerpts from a lovingly crafted larger whole. Gypsy Caravan has avoided this sad fate by crafting an audio documentary that combines complete songs with small bits and pieces of sound, offering glimpses into the real meat and mettle of these musicians. "Gypsy/No Gypsy” catches the attention first — there’s the declaration "this is gypsy,” followed by a man playing a short fiddle line, stretching measures out, playing with rhythms and generally swinging his way through it. He then declares, "Not gypsy” and plays the same thing, but straight as a flagpole. It’s a conversation in music, a journey through traditions familiar and unfamiliar. There are swaggering and sweltering songs like "Mugur Mugurel,” played by the Taraf De Haïdouks Ensemble. But that sits next to the maniacally upbeat "Hora Cu Strigaturii” from Fanfare Ciocãrlia, and after that there’s a fiery duet of spoons. It’s as diverse as the Romani culture of music, and a listen to this disc gives a sense not just of the tambour of the instruments or their musical traditions but the sound of a people. (World Village)