Voice of RomaThe Roma people, often known as gypsies, left their ancestral homeland centuries ago, for reasons long forgotten. But they have retained their language and culture in spite of generations of mistrust and persecution.

SaniSani RifatiAlthough there is a strong thread of cultural education running through the annual Roma Festival he stages in Sebastopol each spring, Sani Rifati knows that isn't what draws the crowds. [See schedule below]

Along the way, Rifati adds, you might also discover some Roma connections to the arts, some that have been widely popularized, others that are less known.

 Friday May 4 - Romani Education Night
Veterans Building, 282 South High St., Sebastopol, CA7:30 pm Presentation by Romanichel activist Mario Williams of Austin, Texas, founder of the new website Gypsy.com. Topics include Romani unity, diversity, identities, civil rights, education, plans for a Romani-centered online school and for a Romani civil rights/education non-profit organization. University of Oregon professor Carol Silverman will moderate the discussion that follows.
9:00 pm Live music and dancing, festival performers.
$12-15 suggested donation.

Saturday May 5 - Herdeljezi Stage

sazet-sit 300_85Ives Park, Sebastopol, CA - RAIN OR SHINE !

(if rain, next door in Veterans Building, 282 South High St.)

11 am Romani Music and Dance Workshops $20:Violin - Hüsnü TuzsuzSinging - Beni Kurtis and Ferdi DemirDrumming - Amdi SeyfedinovClarinet - Sal Mamudoski

12:30 -9:00 pm Live music and dancing, plus authentic Romani/Balkan food by Julia Pecak and her crew, handcrafts by "Threads That Connect Us" (VoR sewing project).
Performers and teachers include: Sazet Band (NYC Romani), Ruzsa Nikolic-Lakatos (Vienna), Stevens Brothers "Gypsy Boys" and Danny Lee Fender (Los Angeles), Vadim Kolpakov and "Via Romen" (Russia), Inspector Gadje (Bay Area Balkan).
$15 advance, $18 at gate. Children under 12 free.

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