Casgliad hynod ddifyr o gerddi traddodiadol y sipsiwn ym Mhrydain, yn cynnwys nodiadau manwl, ynghyd ag astudiaeth gynhwysfawr o gefndir hanesyddol, ieithyddol a diwylliannol y caneuon, a'r berthynas rhyngddynt â deunydd o Ewrop.
A fascinating fully annotated collection of the gipsy traditional verse of Britain, together with a comprehensive exploration of the historical, linguistic and cultural background of the songs, and their links with related material in Europe.
Now Shoon the Romano Gillie:
Traditional Verse in the High and Low Speech of the Gypsies of Britain
pp x486 July 2001 hardback £45.00
Another fascinating book from the University of Wales Press. (Western Mail)
. . . this book is part of a radical shift in folk song scholarship . . . This book is another big step towards a better understanding of how the language of traditional song works, the way narratives and experiences are shared and used in close groups to affirm identities, create histories. Planet
"Can you rocker Romany / Can you kil the bosh? / Can you jall the
sturraben / An' can you chin the kosh?" The first verse of a song
known to most Anglo-Romany speakers in Britain, asks: "Can you speak
Romany and play a fiddle, can you put up with jail and can you carve
a cosh?" The other stanzas pose further random questions, which Tim
Coughlan dissects line by line to reveal a style - at first glance,
unfocused - that works as cultural reinforcement. A Gypsy who knows
the song's underlying themes - are you one of us, do you have our
skills, and would you be willing to go to jail for me? - can use them
to test another person's ethnic identity. Coughlan looks at Gypsy
verse of the past 150 years and finds that this distinctive format
has helped Romanies to maintain their culture.
Yet Coughlan's book is about more than music. It turns out to be one
of the liveliest and most scholarly post-war works on Romanies in
Britain. The title, off-puttingly expressed in Anglo-Romany, means
"Listen to Gypsy song", and it is to be hoped that it will stimulate
interest in this hitherto largely ignored folk form. Between his
detailed analysis of songs collected in England and Wales, the author
exposes many of the published mistaken interpretations and
observations of Gypsy culture; it is nonsense, for instance, to claim
that the Romany language, or Romanes (it is never pronounced Romanes,
as Coughlan writes it), in Britain became a "thieves' cant". He also
takes to task George Borrow and the "Gypsylorists" of the Victorian
and Edwardian eras, who, while creating an informal and hopelessly
romantic discipline of Gypsy studies, were contemptuous of the songs.
"Both the folk-song establishment and the Gypsy Lore Society,"
Coughlan comments, "continued steadfastedly to ignore the possibility
that the Gypsies possessed anything of interest in the way of native
or mainstream song." For this reason alone, the book has long been
needed; even if since the 1960s, the subject of Gypsies has become
less marginalized and there is now a chair of Romany studies in
London.' Times Literary Supplement
When the Gypsies first arrived in the British Isles, sometime in the second half of the fifteenth century, they brought with them their own language and, it may be assumed, a body of traditional song, little of which is preserved today. Now Shoon the Romano Gillie gathers together the largest published collection of extant traditional verse in Welsh Romani and Romani English.
In his introduction, Tim Coughlan places the material firmly within its linguistic and cultural tradition, explains its characteristics and underlying modes of thought and, by drawing upon a range of related material, underlines its links with both its own European Romani roots and with other native British and Irish traditions, including those of Scottish and Irish travellers. The texts themselves are fully annotated to provide the necessary historical and cultural background.
In addition to being the first attempt at a comprehensive overview of the field, Now Shoon the Romano Gillie also contributes to debates on the emergence of Romani English as a reduced form of an older inflected language. It will be an invaluable resource for students of the Gypsy language and traditional song, as well as all those with interests in Traveller communities and cultures.