Gypsy Caravan
Documentary

Gypsy Caravan

Tales of a Gypsy Caravan

This feature documentary showcases the exhilarating music of top international Gypsy artists on stage and juxtaposes it with their little known lives off-stage.

In 2001, 35 musicians go on a whirlwind concert tour performing flamenco, brass band, Romanian ballads, wedding music, Indian raga, Sufi and folk. They get standing ovations and rave reviews. Shows are cheered by High-priced packed houses across the USA and Europe. Our camera, shot by documentary icon Albert Maysles, follows the concert tour and than visits artists at home in Spain, Macedonia, Romania and India. Vibrant scenes of music and dance are intercut with intimate, sad and funny offstage moments. This is a unique journey into Gypsy music, roots and life.

While performing in colourful garb to sell out crowds, the five diverse groups are united by common heritage and nimble improvisation. Gypsy stereotypes of fun-loving exoticism get full play from the skilled artists onstage, but the reveal themselves in a different light when we visit them at home. We focus on a few select musicians whose stories illuminate the music, but also illustrate the dual life of the Romani (Gypsy) musician – glamorous and adored on the international stage rich in culture but often impoverished and shunned at home.

Where a traditional concert film might have backstage footage, we see the artists’ home lives. Star-crossed lovers who cannot be together back in India because of their caste differences. A Rajastahni man in sequin skirts who began cross dressing as a dancer to support his family. A young violinist who gets reviews telling readers to rush and buy tickets, yet in Romania his children cannot go t school because Gypsies are put in classes for the mentally disabled. One old man draws tears and standing ovations with his violin, he’s played for Hollywood stars and international hit movies, yet he sneaks into the glitzy lobby after shows to play for tips in his upturned hat – at 82 he’s the sole breadwinner for is extended family.

A concert film with stories as rich as the music
Stills