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Princes Amongst Men: Journeys With Gypsy Musicians [Paperback]

Garth Cartwright
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Princes Amongst Men: Journeys with Gypsy Musicians Princes Amongst Men: Journeys with Gypsy Musicians 4.1 out of 5 stars (7)
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Book Description

5 May 2005
Weaving historical fact, mythic tales and contemporary voices, Princes Amongst Men recounts a Balkan odyssey in search of the secret history and culture of Europe's greatest musicians - the Roma Gypsies. On his wild and affectionate journey, Garth Cartwright wanders through the ruins of post-Communist Serbia and observes Roma refugees from the Kosovo conflict. He attends a Gypsy wedding in Macedonia, conveys the tragedy of Romania in the aftermath of Ceaucescu, scours Skopje for opium, charts the Euro-Asian beauties so prominent in Bulgaria, almost marries a Gypsy princess in Kocani and witnesses the fiery celebrations that mark Ederlezi, the Night of the Gypsies, in an impoverished Bulgarian Gypsy ghetto. Cartwright?s engagement with Gypsy communities bypasses clich? and overturns prejudice to return with the true story of the Gypsies? Balkan blues.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (5 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852428775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852428778
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,265,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


?High times and hard times in the Balkans. Outrageously good.? Howard Marks ?Garth Cartwright is one wise traveller. Drifting across the Balkans he encounters those we call ?Gypsies?, a people much presumed about yet rarely understood. With empathy and wit, eyes and ears open, he describes their beautiful, defiant culture.? Benjamin Zephaniah

About the Author

Garth Cartwright was born in New Zealand. He left school at 16, tried his hand at professional skateboarding, singing in punk bands, promoting concerts and even had a brief sojourn as a boxer, before turning to writing full time. In 1995 he won the Guardian Music Writing Award. He has written for the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent On Sunday, The Times, Time Out, Uncut, Folk Roots, and a multitude of international publications. He lives in London.

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Darkness slips across the mahala. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life among the gypsies 5 Nov 2005
Garth Cartwright takes us on a journey to a part of Europe that hardly anyone knows about - or cares about for that matter. It takes a New Zealander to show us a rich, vibrant and highly musical life that's on our doorstep.
Cartwright has walked the talk, venturing far into the Mahalas of Serbia, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria, to meet the Gypsy musicians whose music he clearly loves. Here he sits with the Romany musicians in their homes, drinks too much coffee with them in local cafés, meets the family, parties the night away and gets horribly drunk with them.
We get to meet the leather-skinned Lizard King Saban, the elphin Esma, the sexually charged Azis and go on a pot-holed journey to visit a member of Johnny Depp’s favourite band Taraf De Haïdouks.
The interviews demonstrate the sometimes harsh yet rich life of Gypsy musicians but what really shines in the book is Cartwright’s descriptions of life among these forgotten people. “Poor citizens beg cigarettes, families gather their kids and demand ‘Photo! Photo!’, a woman wrinkled as a walnut and on the wrong side of sixty offers to hump me for a handful of lei. The musicians think this is hilarious and tell me she’s good.”
And if I ever bump into Cartwright I’ll have to ask him how do you know if a woman is a virgin or not. You’ll have to read the book to understand what that’s about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, informative and moving. 7 May 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book gave me an excellent insight into an often forgotten people and has provided me with a superb stepping stone to investigate Roma culture, with a very useful discography and bibliography at the end. One can clearly feel the enthusiasm of the author in his fluid writing style and humour as he travels throughout the Balkans and yet he is also able to convey the sadness of a much marginalised people. He manages to get close to lots of the musicians, often living with them and meeting them in their element, often at weddings, which is the source of the gypsy musicians' income. As a music guide, it is very useful, but is also worth reading for anyone who likes travelogues or has a vague interest in the History of South-Eastern Europe. One of the most enjoyable books I have read for a long time and I cannot recommend it enough. If for nothing else than being made aware of the unique persona of Azis, it is enough!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pricnes Amongst Men 18 April 2009
Since the publication of Garth's book the land has been swamped with Balkan/Gypsy events.
For those who want to know more and path it took to get here. They can see how music traveled and how you can travel with music. Also you can get the CD of the music of the book a must on both counts to expand your musical tastes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Boom boom balkans! 24 Sep 2010
No nonsense, funky, in depth, objective and sensitive account of Gypsy music and gypsy life in the Balkans. Also an insightful and informative account of what's going on and what's been going on in the Balkans.
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