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Bright Balkan Morning

Romani Lives and the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia

Bright Balkan Morning documents Romani musicians and their place in the cultural ecology of northern Greece using photographs, texts, oral histories, and soundscapes. The book tells an unusual story about both "the Gypsies" and "the Balkans," in which difficult socio-economic conditions context a mutually rewarding ritual reciprocity in the Nommos of Serres.

Our book is centered in a crossroads town of some 5,000 people in a fertile basin formed by the Strimon River as it flows out of the mountains that define Greece's northern border with Bulgaria.  Iraklia (Jumaya before 1926) is the home of over 2,000 Roma who have been settled there for many generations.  The earliest Roma settlers became fishermen and harvesters of its abundant supply of reeds. In the 19th century Romani labor was the foundation of agricultural production for export.  In the 20th century Romani migrant laborers worked in fields all over Greek Macedonia.


Photographs by
Dick Blau

Text by
Angeliki Vellou Keil
Charles Keil

Soundscape by
Steven Feld