Gypsy documentaries - Film When the Road Bends, Tales of a Gypsy Caravan - World Music Documentary Film Gypsy documentaries - Film When the Road Bends, Tales of a Gypsy Caravan - World Music Documentary Film
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Gypsy documentaries - Film When the Road Bends, Tales of a Gypsy Caravan - World Music Documentary Film
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WHEN THE ROAD BENDS is an uplifting and moving documentary which explores the music, lives and heritage of five distinct Gypsy bands from around the world as they unite for the GYPSY CARAVAN, a six-week musical tour around North America that brings audiences to their feet.

Their musical styles range from flamenco to brass band, Romanian violin, Balkan pop, Indian folk, raga and jazz. With fire in their bellies and soul in their voices, they present the best in Gypsy music and the diversity of the Romani people in an explosion of music and dance.

The film follows the amazing performances and behind-the-scenes action of the concert tour arranged by World Music Institute, inviting us to travel with the musicians as they laugh, cry, argue, play and learn about each others' past hardships and future dreams. This moving progression of their relationships, reflected in their shared stories and jam sessions, is the backbone to the film and the tour.

As they befriend each other, they celebrate the majesty and glory of music while overcoming the prejudice of their shared ancestry. We explore the real lives of these musicians as we travel to their homes, meet their families and see what music brings to their lives a link to an ancient culture, a common language, a traditional career all of which is a stark and often painful contrast to life on the road. The personal drama and stories of these characters are interwoven with their performances, reflecting the imagery and emotion of their music, as we get to know them and their bands intimately.

From Romania we meet electrifying Taraf de Haïdouks, a band with many vocal fans all over the world, including the likes of Johnny Depp. The ages of the band members range from 22-80 and their albums and tours support much of their village. It is at home with them that we meet Nicolae, the 78-year-old patriarch who almost single-handedly supports, educates and feeds his extended family with his musical earnings.

Esma Redzepova from Macedonia, hailed as the Queen of Gypsies, has a voice full of joy, power and sadness. An institution in her own country for over 40 years, she has not only broken down many prejudicial barriers but also adopted and educated 47 children with her late husband.

Antonio El Pipa flamenco ensemble, a family troupe from Spain, is a sight to be seen - blending the power of Antonio's flamenco with the haunting sound of his aunt Juana la del Pipa's voice. We see them at their Flamenco school and discover the hardships that Juana suffered from her poor beginnings to the distress caused by her son's and husband?s drug addiction.

Originating from India, the homeland of the Romani people, Maharaja is made up of poets, singers, musicians and a very unique dancer, all from varied castes. Harish turned to dance to feed his family when his parents died, and he is one of only a few artists in the world to perform the spectacular Rajasthani knee dance.

Fanfare Ciocarlia uniquely blends brass band arrangements with traditional Romanian Gypsy music, Turkish, and Arabic influences. The speed of their playing and thrill of their sound is legendary with DJ's playing their tunes on dance floors from New York to Berlin to Tokyo. The sales of the first album enabled them to bring electricity to their hometown. Such is the power of their music.

As a grand finale, the diverse yet related musical groups come together for a last song, bringing audiences to their feet. In contrast, the death and funeral of Nicolae, as he leaves his family and fellow musicians to fend for themselves, shows that the legacy will never die.

A culture interminably misunderstood, oppressed and stigmatized, Romani history is one of suffering and misery, but it is also one of the victories of human spirit over the blows of fate. Perhaps nowhere is this spirit better personified than by the musicians featured in Jasmine Dellal's feature length documentary, WHEN THE ROAD BENDS...TALES OF A GYPSY CARAVAN.

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