France: Petition to remove ban on Roma music at religious festival

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France:
Petition to remove ban on Roma music

An online petition seeks to have a ban lifted on playing music in the streets during the Roma people’s annual pilgrimage in Saintes Maries de la Mer

Gypsies from throughout Europe travel each 24-25 May to the town of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Camargue region of France on a religious pilgrimage to honour their Saint Sarah in prayer and music.

Over the years this gathering at the end of the road in France had developed into a crossroads of Romany music, inspiring and pollinating other types of Gypsy music from flamenco to Django Reinhardt’s Gypsy Jazz, traditional Hungarian and Balkan brass to the Gipsy Kings’ Rhumba.

But in May 2008 the city’s council banned the Roma people from performing music in the streets during the festival. According to Canut Reyes from Gipsy Kings, and many others, this new music ban is going to ruin the festival, and they fear for its future.

Along with an appeal to allow the Roma people to continue to play music in the streets in May 2009, an online petition has been started which is to be sent to the Mayor of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, Mr Roland Chassain.

“Music plays a huge part in the tradition and culture of the Gypsy people. Please, Mr Chassain, help to resolve any problems, but let the music play on!,” the appealers say.

The petition can be signed online here:

ipetitions.com/petition/stsara09



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