Tony Gatlif (b. 1948) is a French film maker born in Algiers of a Romani mother. This family connection probably explains why almost every film by Tony Gatlif is concerned with the social, political and cultural alienation of gypsy communities across Europe. And why music as a way of life plays a central role in his film making. Set in the Southern Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia, Vengo (2000) is no exception and showcases an extraordinary soundtrack featuring local musicians as well as established names in the Flamenco tradition such as La Paquera de Jerez (1934-2004), Tomatito and La Caita.
La Caita: Calle Del Aire
La Caita is a passionate flamenco singer who already appeared in Tony Gatlif’s musical film Latcho Drom (1993). Listening to La Caita’s intense delivery, one feels there is a lot more happening here than a simple musical performance.
Crucial to flamenco is the concept of duende, which Gatlif refers to often and which has been variously translated as soul, the spirit of the earth and the power to attract through personal magnetism […] Gatlif describes “duende” as magical, “a trance you enter into that’s higher than a state of grace.” LA Times, 20th Sept. 2001
Ramon Quilate and Emilio Caracafe: Arrinconamela
Remedios Silva Pisa: Nací en Alamo
“Nací en Alamo” is the song playing at the end of the film as the credits roll. It is based on a Greek song composed by Giorgos Katsaris and Dionissis Tsaknis called “Song of the Gypsies”.
no tengo lugary no tengo paisajeyo menos tengo patria I have no placeI have no countryI have no homeland
In the words of Tony Gatlif:
“Vengo is primarily about that: a call, a song, a hymn to life, to love, to mourning, to blood money. A hymn to the Mediterranean spirit.”