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Songs from the Roadside


Part One

Jeremy Sandford presents recordings of traditional Gypsy singers and a few songs sung live.

... Relating the British tradition to the Hungarian, Rumanian and Spanish Gypsy traditions.

... Where do our Gypsies come from? Pakistan and a stupendous battle. King James of Scotland and his Gypsy troupe. The origin of the Raggle Taggle Gypsy, Lady Cassilis and Johnny Farr. Mary Carbery, Jeremy’s Grandmother, a passionate admirer of the Romani culture. Her last days in Herefordshire and influence on Jeremy.

... Ralph Vaughan Williams and his friend Ella Mary Leather. Their recordings and transcriptions of the songs and music of Herefordshire Gypsies. Jeremy presents songs originally sung by the Gypsies Esther and Eliza Smith, Angelina Whatton, Alfred Price Jones, Mrs Loveridge, many recorded at The Homme near Weobley, performed by Angelina Whatton’s daughter May Bradley, and many others.

... A visit to the famous Gypsy horse fair at Stow-on-the-Wold to hear what today’s Gypsies are singing. Accomplished performance of Country & Western by the Biddle family, songs by Paddy Houlahan and his Gypsy musicians. Present day Gypsy admiration for Irish and Country & Western music. Songs from our own tradition including The Romani Rai, Buckled I Long to Be and My Old Horse and Me.

... Songs in Romani and Anglo Romani and their translation. Mandi Went to Poove the Grai and Can You Rocker Romani? Observations on the Romani tongue. The Oakham Poachers and The Rich Farmer from Sheffield, sung by Wisdom Smith. Gelem Gelem, a song in full Romani and its meaning (‘Rise Up Gypsies’).

Part Two

A live performance of Gypsy music given by:

Mark O’Gallaidh

Son of an Irish Gypsy father and British teenage mother, Mark is a popular vocalist and performer on bones, bodhran and whistle pipe, and with diddling, at Stow and Priddy horse fairs and other Gypsy gatherings and weddings.

Ted Atkinson

Traditional Gypsy singer and genial host of many Gypsy sing-songs. Ted is also one of this country’s foremost wheelwrights, was founder of the Gypsy Museum at Axbridge, and owner of many historic traditional Gypsy caravans and horses.

The Gypsy tradition is to perform without accompaniment. However, Marco may be accompanied, on occasion, by Jeremy Sandford on piano accordion.

Participation by other members of the Gypsy community is also anticipated, including;

Wisdom Smith

Renowned traditional Gypsy singer, currently his caravan is parked, along with those of many of his children and grandchildren, on a council site near Ledbury.

Harry Smith

Much respected member of the local Gypsy community, will perform on harmonica.


The programme is likely to include some of the following;

Mark O’ Songs

I’m a Freeborn Man of the Travelling People

Nancy Miles

Sullivan’s John

Peggy Gordon

I’m a Man you don’t Meet Every Day

Ted Atkinson Songs

I’m a Romani Rai

Gypsy Woman

Will there be Travellers in Heaven?

Shadows Round the Fire

Scarborough Fair

Wisdom Smith Songs

Lord Bakeman

There was a Rich Farmer from Sheffield

The Oakham Poachers

Mark O’ on Whistle, Pipe and Bones

Blarney Pilgrim

Banish Misfortune

Planxty Erwin and Blind Mary by O’Carolan

The Lonesome Boatman by Ted Fury

For Ireland I’ll Not Tell Her Name

Guests of Honour

Our Guests of Honour will be Harry and Evelyn Smith, direct descendants and grandchildren of Esther and Eliza Smith, whose songs were collected and used in his own music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Mizzelli Biddle, great granddaughter.

And great grandchildren.

Richard, Lacey, Johnboy, Tammy Shareen, great great grandchildren.

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