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Fiddling to stop Roma burning

Kerieva was born into a musical family and her earliest public performances being at the tender age of 8.


Romany rights activist and musician Kerieva

Her music traverses through a beguiling mix of influences – Gypsy jazz, ska, rhumba, cabaret and trad - sung in an array of languages including various dialects of Romanés, (the Gypsy language), enabling her to inhabit convincingly the characters of her songs. Watching Kerieva live you can expect a theatrically expressive performance as she hauntingly recreates through the intensity of her voice, the sounds, flavours and visual landscapes of her intriguing life.

KerievaKerieva is everything a modern Gypsy activist needs to be. Musical, lyrical and media savvy, she can entertain one moment and inspire the next. She’s equally at home playing the violin or singing on a stage or rabble rousing in Romany slums from Glasgow to Budapest. And she’s packed a lot into her 34 years.

Her heritage is as diverse as her interests, she’s part Irish and part Manouche (French Romany) has a degree in performing arts and masters degree in human rights. She’s sings fluently in several languages, and is still on the move between Spain, Hungary and Scotland. As she prepares to release her first album in early 2009, she’s recorded a song she hopes will inspire Romany youth to resist the frightening tide of anti-Gypsy racism.

Reaction to Racism

As anti-Gypsy violence rises across Europe, Kerieva has written an anthem to warn young Romanies. The song is called Dikhen Ande Italia in Romani, which means "Look in Italy" and is a reaction to the racist violence experienced by the Romany community in Italy last year. Its words also refer to the indifference Italian sunbathers had to the corpses of two dead Romany girls washed up on a beach. But Kerieva says the song was directly inspired by a visit to Austria last summer.

“The song was inspired by a visit in August to my friend and famous Romani Holocaust survivor Ceija Stojka in Vienna,” says Kerieva. “We talked about her poetry and the workshops she does in schools on the theme “I am afraid Auschwitz is only sleeping.”

“I asked her what message she would want to give to young Romani people today under political stress. So there are obvious comparisons with Italy and National Socialism, but the song addresses Roma directly and is a call to action,” says Kerieva. The song’s warning that “The black legion has woken from a 60 years slumber and is conquering Europe”, is a direct reference to the Nazi Gestapo but refers to all those guilty of anti-Romany violence across Europe.

Contact Kerieva or visit her myspace page:

Article originally published on Travellers' Times Online


Kerieva is a mysterious and charismatic performer, who thoroughly engages her audiences.

Visit her myspace page to listen to some of her music.

Hear for Yourself

Romano Drom Songbook CoverListen to some of the songs from our Romano Drom Songbook - including songs played by Kerieva and Ambrose Cooper.

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