Sunday, January 07, 2007

Flamenco, Tabla, Kathak, Gypsies and India

A few weeks ago, B. gave me a CD titled "Curandero, Flamenco guitar meets Indian tabla". The music is by Miguel Espinoza (guitar) and Ty Burhoe (tabla).

Some days later when I was playing the CD at home, N. heard it, and told me about this:

Here, flamenco guitar and tabla encounter the Indian dance form of Kathak.

From youtube comments I learned that flamenco and tabla have had a wider experimentation, e.g., IndiaLucia.

A comment there reminded me also of a speculation that I'd heard long ago, that the Romani - Gypsies - are the descendants of a 10th century diaspora from India, from somewhere around the Indus. In the comment, it is said that Flamenco and Kathak are related, because of the Romani people.

I've been intrigued by that because the only event I know of in the tenth century to cause such a migration would have been the devastating attacks by Mahmud of Ghazni.

In the words of his courtier, Alberuni (E. Sachau translation):

"Now in the following times no Muslim conqueror passed beyond the frontier of Kabul and the river Sindh until the days of the Turks, when they seized power in Ghazna under the Samani dynasty, and the supreme power fell to the lot of Nasir-addaula Sabuktagin. This prince chose the holy war as his calling, and therefore called himself Al-ghazi (i.e., warring on the road of Allah). In the interest of his successors he constructed in order to weaken the Indian frontier, those roads on which afterwards his son Yamin-addaula Mahmud marched into India during a period of thirty years and more. God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people."

What crystallized this post, is that this morning, S. brought to my attention the following:

Kosovian traces 1000 year old lineage.
24-four-year old Miradiya Giozic from Kosovo is in India attempting to trace her roots.

Also see this.

Note to the unwary - take the gypsies out of India as something to be proved; presumably DNA or literary or linguistic evidence will eventually shed light on this hypothesis. There are many indications that it may be true. But there are other plausible routes for cultural and linguistic influence that result in commonalities.

Do enjoy the music and dance!


Anonymous said...


Wish you a happy year 2007

Your posts made me think of India in general, Indian society etc ....

What's the view of SEX before marriage in Indian society ..... ?

Is sex before marriage ok ?
Is it Taboo ? in the India context

Does it create un realistic expectation [free love with little or no responsibilities? ] ?
is it just normal, as marriage age has gone well beyond the biological limits ?

Is it part of our culture ?
is it alien to our culture ?

who should decide ? the children or the parents ? or the society ?

more at


Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!