Kotel Gypsies


We’ve made contact with the Gypsies! While wandering the almost deserted streets of Kotel a couple of men greeted us. They invited us to come with them to their restaurant in the lower part of town – the gypsy part. With a few misgivings we accepted and an excellent evening was had by all.

Both of the men were called Angel. One of them owned the restaurant and both played clarinet in their band which assembled soon after we arrived (three clarinets, one piano accordion and a drummer). They asked us whether the band could form and play for us. We were a bit worried we were booking the band and not sure what the bill for the night would be. Anyway we enjoyed the good food and excellent spirited playing and when the bill for dinner arrived it was perfectly reasonable. We added some money as a tip for the band.

Gypsy band in Restorant Zlaten, Kotel

Kotel is a renowned source of gypsy musicians who travel across the Bulgaria and Europe for gigs when the money’s available. There’s a music school here. The GFC has hit this area hard with 70% unemployment in Kotel apparently. The band played their cabaret/show set and then followed up with their local Gypsy music. They don’t use the machine-gun staccato tonguing of the Romanian wedding bands. Their ensemble was tight and in tune and, as I say, spirited. The place soon filled up with locals once the band started.

In addtion to ‘Roma’ and ‘Gypsy’ they also seemed to refer to their community as ‘Tsigani’ – possibly even prefer that term but it was impossible to explore the potential connotations that the various terms carried.

We’re a bit embarrassed about our early concerns regarding the way the night might be heading. We had a great night and have decided to stay another day here.

So when you’re next in Kotel, seek out Restorant Zlaten (Golden Restaurant) and hope that the band’s in town.

4 Responses to “Kotel Gypsies”

  1. Ros Says:

    How wonderful music at last but you didn’t join in Rosalie..no that would not have been kosher..still wondered what they might have thought of your uke and well done for not being afeared of gypsies-just folk trying to make a buck or whatever bulgarian equivalent…cheers Ros

    • Rosalie Says:

      Thought about the uke, but it was their place and their band, and the pace and volume of gypsy music is pretty high octane!

  2. Marion Says:

    So this will be the last post we read as you’re spirited away by the gypsies…..never to be heard of again except for the faint sounds of a ukulele….and then a stifled cry “Careful of my back!”……

  3. kjm Says:

    I love the mobile saw! foes that count as a bandsaw-wagon?

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