The Várkonyi Csibészek represented Hungary in the United Kingdom during the Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month

The Hungarian Cultural Centre in London (HCC) and Ando Glaso in Scotland invited talented young musicians combining traditional Hungarian gypsy music with jazz to give an online concert in the United Kingdom.

Every June since 2008, people from across the UK have celebrated Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. Through celebration, education and raising awareness, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month helps to tackle prejudice, challenge myths and to amplify the voices of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in wider society. This year, for the first time, traditional Hungarian gypsy music also took part in the celebrations, thanks to the cooperation between the HCC and Ando Glaso in the thematic month. The Glasgow-based, Hungarian-led Ando Glaso has been promoting Scottish Roma culture since 2016, with the aim of strengthening community cohesion based on cultural diversity.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions in force, the Várkonyi Csibészek’s recorded an online concert for this occasion which we premiered on online platforms. The Várkonyi Csibészek is a musical formation of underprivileged but outstandingly talented Roma teenagers from one of the poorest areas in Hungary. Since 2017, the band has been working with volunteer musicians and teachers from the Common Vibe project and has steadily gained local and global recognition through touring and YouTube for their raw and inspirational talent. They gained national fame for their cover of the song "Lekapcsolom a villanyt a fejemben” (Turning off the lights in my head) by the Bajdázó ensemble. During the online concert, the band presented acoustic adaptations of their soon-to-be-released album combining traditional Hungarian gypsy music melodies with jazz.

Common Vibe is a group where trained musicians and young Roma people living on the periphery create and play together. The common experience of creating music promotes respect and appreciation of the skills of others and the differences and helps the positive personality development of young people with behavioural, and self-esteem problems. Music helps to express emotion, improves concentration, the ability to learn. The project is about creativity, self-expression, and acceptance.