Four distinct nationalities joined Oct. 6 in the Page Auditorium on Duke University campus for the Gypsy Caravan 2.
They were brought together not only because of the quality of their rhythm but also because they all identified themselves as the gypsies or, more correctly, as the Roma.
The Gypsy Caravan 2 included the dark Maharaja from Rajasthan, India, the playful Esma Redzepova and Ensemble Teodosievski from Macedonia, the musicians of Fanfare Ciocarlia from Romania and the raspy sounds and rhythm of the Antonio El Pipa Flamenco Ensemble from Spain.
This was their first tour together in the United States and their second night in the country.
In an interview, Oprica Costel Ivanesca, clarinet and saxophone player with Ciocarlia, explained the purpose of the concert.
"We want to show the people in this country who we are and where our culture and our music is coming from," Ciocarlia said.
Today the Roma are the largest minority group in the European continent. There are 12 million to 15 million of them living in the world. It is difficult to determine their exact number because many countries do not record them in official census accounts. Most live in Romania, central Europe and the former Soviet Union.
The Roma are thought to have migrated from northern India to the Middle East in the 11th century. The early Europeans, mistaking them for Egyptians, called "gyptians" -- which was later shortened to "gypsies."
"The soil is what makes the difference to every other nation of the world, but for the gypsy it is the music," said Helmut Neuman, the manager of the Fanfare Ciocarlia. "Their religion is their music."