Different songs, same cultural connections

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A group of Roma and Scottish folk musicians have come together in a ground-breaking new project celebrating cultural diversity.

The debut public performance of the band Moving Wheels took place at the Glad Café in Shawlands recently with more calendar tour dates running up to Christmas.

In the audience was live music fan David Edwards from Shawlands. Commenting after the show, he said: ‘I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on the night but I can’t believe that was their first performance.

“They perform as though they’ve been a band for much longer than for just a few weeks. What stands out most is just how much they really enjoy playing together.”

Developed by band leader Filip Rideg, Jana Mikova of Crossroads and arts organisation ConFAB, E karika Djal (Moving Wheel) have been meeting and rehearsing in Govanhill baths since September.

Filip said: “This unique project uses the shared love of music to assist in breaking down barriers, fostering an understanding and mutual respect between the Roma and non-Roma 
communities.

“Sharing culture and heritage is an important part of the music E karika Djal play and at the Glad Café they shared the stage with the recently formed 15-piece blues and soul big band The Glasgow Blues and Soul Alliance in a celebration of culture, music and Roma spirit.

“The musicians who are part of the E karika Djal want to break down some of the barriers and stereotypes that still occur in the wider community of Govanhill and across the whole of the Scottish society. This can be done by music.

“The band mixes musicians from all over the world. There are people of all ages, experiences and nationalities, but music is the universal language here and anybody can understand that.

“As long as people feel emotions pouring from the songs, it doesn’t matter where we are from or the colour of our 
skin.”