Between Two Fires: Gypsy Performance and Romani Memory from by Alaina Lemon

By Alaina Lemon

Since tsarist occasions, Roma in Russia were portrayed as either rebellious outlaws and free-spirited songbirds—in each one case, as though remoted from society. In Soviet occasions, Russians endured to harbor those , in simple terms probably antagonistic, perspectives of “Gypsies,” exalting their songs on level yet scorning them at the streets as liars and cheats. Alaina Lemon’s Between Fires examines how Roma themselves have negotiated those twin photographs in daily interactions and in level performances.
Lemon’s ethnographic learn relies on wide fieldwork in Nineties Russia and makes a speciality of Moscow Romani Theater actors in addition to Romani investors and metalworkers. Drawing from interviews with Roma and Russians, observations of performances, and conversations, in addition to data, literary texts, and media, Lemon analyzes the position of theatricality and theatrical tropes in Romani lifestyles and the standard linguistics of social family members and of reminiscence. traditionally, the way in which Romani level functionality has been culturally framed and situated in Russia has served to typecast Gypsies as “natural” performers, she explains. therefore, whereas theatrical and musical functionality could every now and then empower Roma, extra frequently it has strengthened and rationalized racial and social stereotypes, aside from them from many Soviet and Russian monetary and political arenas. functionality, for that reason, defines what it skill to be Romani in Russia another way than it does in different places, Lemon indicates. contemplating formal info of language in addition to broader cultural and social constructions, she additionally discusses how racial different types relate to post-Soviet fiscal alterations, how gender different types and Euro-Soviet notions of civility are hooked up, and the way ontological differences among “stage artwork” and “real lifestyles” give a contribution to the making of social varieties. This complicated research therefore serves as a corrective to romantic perspectives of Roma as indifferent from political forces.

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Additional resources for Between Two Fires: Gypsy Performance and Romani Memory from Pushkin to Post-Socialism

Sample text

They are so liberated! Songs, unforgettable songs! Of course, what can I say, except that we, well, if even the great poet Pushkin, he was crazy about Gypsies, then of course! Therefore, either it’s Gypsy art or the people, Gypsies themselves. (Lemon and Nakamura 1994, emphasis added) The grandmother’s shift, from personal memory to citation of Pushkin and general stereotype, pivots on the same phrase that occurred (without prompting) in her granddaughter’s speech, evoking a vague sense of place Pushkin, The Gypsies, and Nostalgia 35 (‘‘there it’s merry’’).

Chapter 5 dislodges Soviet (and European) assumptions that define authentic Gypsy cultural identity as lacking both memory of the past and commitment in the present. Ideologies about performance sca√old these lacks. The chapter takes up dramaturgic metaphors of the proscenium where they structure state archival accounts of Gypsy misdeeds, and contrasts them to Romani oral histories and moral tales. In 1993, I found criminal case files on the grandfather of a Romani family I had known since 1991. For the state, the issue had been concealment of loyalties and exchanges.

Songs, unforgettable songs! Of course, what can I say, except that we, well, if even the great poet Pushkin, he was crazy about Gypsies, then of course! Therefore, either it’s Gypsy art or the people, Gypsies themselves. (Lemon and Nakamura 1994, emphasis added) The grandmother’s shift, from personal memory to citation of Pushkin and general stereotype, pivots on the same phrase that occurred (without prompting) in her granddaughter’s speech, evoking a vague sense of place Pushkin, The Gypsies, and Nostalgia 35 (‘‘there it’s merry’’).

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