Kosovo through the Eyes of Local Romani (Gypsy) Musicians provides an alternative view of the Balkan region of Kosovo from the usual media coverage that is typically limited to examinations of the mutually conflicting interests of ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs. Because Romani musicians are able and willing to perform music of various origins and styles, they enjoyed the status of superior specialists in Kosovo until the 1990s. They successfully adapted to the multiethnic, multireligious, and multilingual reality of Kosovo and served various audiences in both rural and urban settings. The documentary film that this study guide accompanies presents five characteristic types of Romani ensembles in Kosovo, four sources of the musical repertoire of a single semi-nomadic Romani community, creative localization of a selected tune of foreign origin ("Lambada”) by various Kosovo Romani ensembles, and the response of Romani musicians to the challenge of increasing political tensions in Kosovo in the early 1990s. The footage was filmed by Svanibor Pettan, Ph.D. in the course of his fieldwork in the period between 1984 to1991. Professor and Chair of the ethnomusicology program at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Dr. Pettan is the author of many contributions dedicated to the legacy of Romani musicians in Kosovo, including books, articles, a CD-ROM, and a picture exhibition.
Co-published by the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts and the Society for Ethnomusicology.
SEM thanks the following for their work on this project: Svanibor Pettan, D. A. Sonneborn, Rebecca S. Miller, Cynthia Schmidt, Ursula Hemetek, and Carol Silverman.