Princes Amongst Men

Heard of the Gypsy Kings?  Well there’s a lot more to Romany Gypsy music than just them and most people outside of these communities are surprised by the vibrant musical scene that exists.

Names like Bulgaria’s Azis, Serbia’s Boban Markovic, Romania’s Ciocarlia are all icons in their communities who have been making wonderful music for a very long time.

Romany Gypsy culture usually only gets bad publicity, but what is not widely known outside of these communities is the vibrant musical scene that exists.

The book, ‘Princes Amongst Men – Journeys With Gypsy Musicians’ gives a rare insight into both the culture and the music.  Dry academia it is not, instead it’s a rollicking ride through countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia that finds, follows and travels with the Romany Gypsy musicians, many of whom are legends in their communities but virtual unknowns outside of them.  It’s funny, it’s challenging, and most of all it entertains and informs.

Check out the articles and interviews on this site with Bulgaria’s Azis, Esma Redzepova, the Queen of the Gypsies, Fanfare Ciocarlia, the Guca Festival and more.

Reviews of Princes Amongst Men:

“Cartwright plunges through Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania, pursuing tunes. To capture his passion, he uses a manic prose style, frothing with energy, swinging from panic and confusion to exuberance and complete loss of control.  What distinguishes Cartwright is his style, his verve and his whole-hearted engagement with his subject. The final few pages list about 80 CDs and 20 films by and about Balkan Gypsies; having read the book, you’ll find yourself rushing out to buy them.

Josh Lacey, The Observer (UK)

“We are charmed by Esma Redzepova. We shake our heads at the injustice to which the Kocani Orkestar’s Naat Veliov has been subjected. We learn why Fanfare Ciocarlia seem so atypical of Romanian Gypsy music (it has to do with location and ethnicity). We attend the brass orkestar festival at Guca, Serbia, and are ready to book a flight immediately.  It is Cartwright’s skillful portrayals of the land, the society, the musicians, and their music that make this a memorable and valuable book. Highly recommended.”

Tom Bingham, Generally Eclectic Review

“You will feel you have tagged along on a wild, sometimes dangerous, journey down music’s uncharted back roads with a driven and dauntless guide.”

Nick Bollinger, Sunday-Star Times, NZ