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Sinti culture, language & the origin of the name Django

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  • François RAVEZFrançois RAVEZ FranceProdigy
    Posts: 280
    Hello Roger,

    I agree with you as it seems that Roger CHAPUT was a member of Vola's orchestra in the Claridge at that time, while Joseph only came occasionnally to replace Django.

    Best

    François
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,332
    <blockquote> I would not like anybody to fancy that Django's parents were immigrants discussing about the best language to use at home for their son to integrate and to become a lawyer or a doctor. </blockquote>

    Um, I didn't say or even imply that--- maybe it was the voices in your head?


    <blockquote> Then Django's parents were not immigrants but french, the fact that they had no fix address but were nomads or wanderers...</blockquote>

    But we don't know really know whether they had French citizenship, nor do we know if they spoke French at home or Romaines.

    <blockquote> the fact that they had no fix address but were nomads or wanderers made that they were submitted to vexiatous measures like frequent controls and a handbook they had to present to the police authorities whenever they arrived in a new town.</blockquote>

    The "vexatious measures" were new to me, but it seems to support the argument that they didn't have French citizenship.
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • François RAVEZFrançois RAVEZ FranceProdigy
    Posts: 280
    Hi Lango-Django,
    Um, I didn't say or even imply that--- maybe it was the voices in your head?

    I agree you never said or even implied that, sorry if I gave this impression.
    Please accept my apologies. I was just meaning that someone reading too fast this topic could believe that Django's parents would be in the same situation than current immigrants who choose not to speak their native language at home in order to integrate and provide a better future to their sons.

    Django's parents probably never thought of integration (at least at the time of Django's youth). I would like to remind this episode of Django's life : when he first settled and slept in a house like a gadjo, Django's family and friends came to check that he had not been kidnapped by gadjés, because they could not imagine a gypsy sleeping in a house under a roof. This is just to stress what the cultural differences were then between the gypsies and non-gypsies.

    The best proof that Django's father and Django were french citizens is that Django's father modified his identity to escape the army and that the military authorities examined the case of Django who was exempted because he had been burned in the fire of his caravan.

    In a different topic Django's ID papers in 1935 have been shown. As a well-known musician he was not submitted to the same vexatious handbook but received a special document for people who worked in fancy fairs and showmen (in french un forain [nothing to do with the word foreign ;>))]).

    Now my own personnal opinion (which I cannot check against any written testimony) is that Django spoke Romanès at home with his parents, because I have seen and heard gypsies doing so with young children (at least when a gadjo like me was around) in France only a few years ago.

    Best

    François RAVEZ

  • I would be shocked if a Django didn't speak Romanes.....

    We forget that back then lots of older folks didn't have papers prior to ww1.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • François RAVEZFrançois RAVEZ FranceProdigy
    Posts: 280
    We forget that back then lots of older folks didn't have papers prior to ww1

    In France, theoretically it has never been mandatory (except during ww2) to have an ID card. For sedentary people it was never a problem because they could always find someone in the neighborood (pref. a priest) who could testify who they were.

    But for nomadic people, to be unable to justify your ID made you fall into the category of vagabunds and could lead you to jail during 6 months.
    Under the constant and finical pressure of the police the choice was easily done to have an ID documentation to provide in view of the multitude of controls along the road.

    Best

    François RAVEZ
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,332
    Francois, since Django was born in Belgium, how did he get French citizenship? Do we know?
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • François RAVEZFrançois RAVEZ FranceProdigy
    Posts: 280
    Hello,

    First we must speak of the differences between USA and Europe about the citizenship of a child born from strangers.

    In the USA a child born in the US is American regardless to his/her parents situation (except children of diplomats).

    This is not the case in Europe : if Django was born in Belgium today from french parents, in order for him to become belgian his parents should ask the belgian citizenship before he is 12 and the parents should have been living in Belgium for at least 10 years.

    It is rather similar in France except that if at least one of the stranger parents was born in France the child gets automatically the french citizenship.

    But at the beginning of last century the citizenship depended only on the parents nationality not on the place of birth.

    Now in 1910 there were customs between France and Belgium. So when Django's family crossed the border again to go back to France, the french customs officers certainly noticed there was 1 baby more than before.

    Django was probably added to the nomad circulation handbook of his parents and probably some kind of record was made of Django's birth, because even if they had no fix address, nomads were (from an administrative point of view) attached to a given town of their choice. This was (in theory) to allow nomads to vote for national and local elections and (in fact) to keep record of people and to send them to military service in the army.

    How the administration did work exactly I don't know, but my grandfather's father was born in Belgium from french parents and I never heard he had some citizenship problems.

    Best

    François

  • kevingcoxkevingcox Nova Scotia✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 298
    Wow François, thanks for highlighting those differences. Very interesting.

    Just a note for those who don't speak French (if it wasn't obvious to you) when he says stranger he means foreign(er).
  • François RAVEZFrançois RAVEZ FranceProdigy
    Posts: 280
    Thanks for clarifying

    François
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    edited August 2014 Posts: 2,027
    To change topic for a bit now and talk about Romanes.

    This is from [name removed]'s Facebook:

    [link removed because user has deleted the status, too bad it was a hot topic with a very lively discussion]

    if anyone can read german (mine's a bit rusty) and if i'm not mistaken, but the sinti are royally pissed off that romanes is being taught.

    Some are saying that maybe it's not Sinti Romanes but Roma Romanes so therefore they shouldn't worry

    I have received emails from people who read my article, from gadje (non-gypsies), who expressed interest in wanting to preserve romanes. As I said in the article, it is almost impossible to do so, and one should not really attempt to do so unless the majority of the community is ok with it. Impossible to do so because as I said, the language is intrinsically tied to their culture, and is in constant evolution, every individual speaks it differently, there is no universal sinti romanes, to try to categorize it would mean to consider one form of romanes as being the "right" one above all others.

    As an outsider, i cannot pretend to know what it is like for them, I'm sure that racism still exists but at the same time, the anger in their comments is a bit shocking to me. One of their immediate main concerns was that the police could learn how to speak romanes.

    complicated issue. I'm just glad i did not reveal too much in my article!

    Oddly enough although there is not a lot of info on sinti romanes out there, some people have published books on it and articles, especially in france (Patrick williams), i'm assuming that most sinti are not aware of this. I wonder what their reaction would be if they knew how much info there really was out there
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