Museum celebrates Barcelona’s disappearing Gypsy heritage

1 year ago 135

It doesn’t look similar a spot of legend, but the constrictive Carrer de la Cera is the birthplace of la rumba catalana, the infectiously rhythmic stepchild of flamenco created by Barcelona’s Gypsy assemblage successful the 1950s and fashionable contiguous passim the world.

Now the city’s gitanos person their ain museum, a tiny, vibrant abstraction connected the Carrer de la Cera, which lies successful the multicultural el Raval neighbourhood. The depository volition unfastened its doors connected Sunday.

The depository is the enactment of the Gypsy taste organisation Carabutsí, a Catalan Gypsy connection meaning terrific. Sam Garcia, its president, says the purpose is to sphere the representation of the now-disparate community.

Carrer del la Cera
Carrer de la Cera. ‘Three 100 years agone determination were 1,500 Gypsies surviving successful this 1 tiny street.’ Photograph: The Guardian

“We realised determination was a truly large Gitano colonisation present successful el Raval, which is disappearing due to the fact that of gentrification,” helium says. “Three 100 years agone determination were 1,500 Gypsies surviving successful this 1 tiny street.”

A radical of 7 women acceptable astir collecting oral histories from aged residents and accumulated an archive of 7,000 interviews, photographs and documents – each from the 1 thoroughfare – galore of which are connected show successful the depository portion the remainder volition beryllium disposable online.

“We’re not archivists oregon anthropologists truthful it’s been hard to organise each this information,” says Garcia, adding with pridefulness that wrong a twelvemonth their enactment had won them an grant from the metropolis council.

It’s called an eco-museum, helium says, due to the fact that it’s a enactment of taste conservation.

Documents suggest that determination person been Gypsies successful Catalonia since the aboriginal 15th period and, successful communal with different Spanish Gypsies, they person agelong ceased to beryllium itinerant. Most unrecorded successful ample cities, portion immoderate person been forced into shantytowns specified arsenic the Cañada Real, adjacent Madrid, oregon the rundown La Mina property successful Barcelona.

Prominent abstraction successful the caller depository is fixed to celebrating la rumba catalana, a blend of flamenco, Arab euphony and Caribbean rhythms. Peret (Pedro Pubill Calaf), the astir celebrated rumbero, performed astatine the closing ceremonial of the 1992 Olympic Games successful Barcelona.

The depository volition big workshops and survey groups and has organised 2 tourer itineraries, the Carrer de la Cera and the ruta de la rumba catalana.

The photographs and artefacts that screen its walls bespeak the joys and sorrows of a radical who person been persecuted successful Spain ever since the Catholic reconquest successful 1492, erstwhile they were fixed 60 days to permission the country.

Artefacts commemorating Peret (Pedro Pubill Calaf), the astir   celebrated  rumbero.
Artefacts commemorating Peret (Pedro Pubill Calaf), the astir celebrated rumbero. Photograph: The Guardian

Hostility to Gypsies successful Spain is truthful entrenched that racist comments scarcely rise an eyebrow. When Philip Alston, past the UN peculiar rapporteur connected utmost poorness and quality rights, visited Spain past year, helium was damning astir their treatment, citing 1 “segregated schoolhouse successful a mediocre neighbourhood with a 100% Roma pupil assemblage and a 75% complaint of aboriginal leaving”.

Alston said an independent, broad reappraisal was needed to guarantee that Roma children were “not doomed to repetition the rhythm of poorness and exclusion”.

A 2012 Eurobarometer survey showed that 26% of Spaniards felt “totally uncomfortable” astir their children sharing a schoolroom with Gypsies.

“We person this estimation for being bad, lazy, dirty, thieves and criminals,” says Garcia, who comes from a household of scrap merchants. “We’ve been dragging astir these stereotypes for years. You perceive it each the time. If you effort to rent an apartment, arsenic soon arsenic they find retired you’re a Gypsy, that’s that.”

As good arsenic these stereotypes, Gypsies’ absorption to assimilation means they are viewed arsenic outsiders, the “other”, not truly portion of society, and were not recognised arsenic citizens until 1978.

They are adjacent sometimes accused of “auto-exclusion”, the accusation being that they person chosen a marginal existence. Not so, says Garcia, who says non-assimilation is simply a signifier of resistance.

“We defy done the family,” helium says. “When the Catholic kings banned america from speaking our connection and broke up families, we knew we had to determination on, get unneurotic and commencement again. The household is what protects us. For us, the household is fundamental. That’s wherefore we mostly don’t intermarry, though these days marrying a non-Gypsy is much communal and it’s not specified a problem.”

“We privation to amended radical astir the beingness of the Gypsies who person been present for 600 years. We anticipation if radical recognize our civilization amended they mightiness spot we’re not that antithetic from them.”