October 3, 2010

Gypsy/Gitana, Romani/Roma

Both of the first two above mentioned things are Shakira songs. They are, in fact, two different language versions of the same song... oddly, the Spanish version is much less irritating. This is probably why the English version is on the last album, but the Spanish version has to be purchased separately off of iTunes.

Speaking of Shakira, she might be about to come out with a decent album, finally! It's been a while... Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 was the last actually GOOD album I can recall - the English-language counterpart Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 was not nearly as good, and we'll try not to speak ill of She Wolf... though it's difficult. The good news is that the new album, Sale El Sol, is about to drop and judging by the first single, Shakira has finally realized that she is NOT Beyoncé, nor should she try to be. The first single, "Loca", is more old-school Shakira but with her current favorite trick of inviting a rapper to join her. It comes out very reggaetón influenced (kind of "La Tortura", but with a rapper instead of Alejandro Sanz), but I can handle that. The song has been WAY stuck in my head over the last few days.

But I have gotten sidetracked. My original point was to bring up gypsies... or the Roma (or Romani) as they prefer to  be called. Turns out, there actually is a thing called "antiziganism", which is to the Roman what anti-semitism is to the Jews. All over Europe (most notably in France, Italy, Serbia and Romania), the Roma are being actively persecuted and even locked in concentration camp type facilities, being denied jobs and housing, and occasionally having their settlements fire-bombed, and for whatever reason this human rights violation seems to be totally cool with the European Union. If you're interested at all in this, check out the website www.mundiromani.com and watch the video "Lashi Vita", for starters. "Lashi Vita" focuses solely on the Roma living in Italy, most of whom are refugees from Yugoslavia. The next vid on that site I plan to watch when I get a chance (the videos seem to run about 30 minutes long, be warned) is "The Last Days of Sulukule", which is about a 1,000 year old Roma settlement in Istanbul that was recently destroyed by the local government of Istanbul. ("Yes, who cares that these people have lived here for a millenium or so? We need a new shopping mall!"... at least that's how I imagine the thinking must have gone.)

Every now and then I get lost in the perilous abyss that is Wikipedia, and end up reading about things like this. In this particular instance, I'm just annoyed with Europe in general for deciding that it's okay to single out one minority, label them criminals, and turn the collective back of the European Union on these people. There are also some pretty good videos about this subject on YouTube... search "I Am a Roma Woman" to see some PSA type things.

Song o' the Day: Today you get two for one! First song is "Loca" by Shakira (see vid here), because it's been in my head a positively wicked amount this week. Second song is "Gitana" by Shakira. The Spanish version wins major points for NOT including the lyric "I might steal your clothes and wear them if they fit me".... I think the Roma might take offense to that. You can see a video for "Gitana" here. I recommend watching "Gitana" first, actually, then watching "Loca". Because then it becomes painfully apparent that Shakira needs a few cheeseburgers. I've never before seen her quite as thin as she is in the "Loca" vid, and I don't think it's a good thing, necessarily.

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