Scotland's Year of Stories Project: Tales of a Travelling Scotland & Roma Cultural Festival

Ando Glaso was established in 2016 to encourage greater understanding and participation in the cultural heritage of the Roma people in Scotland aiming at stimulating and advancing community cohesion that is built on respect for celebrating diverse cultural identities. The organisation was initiated by a dedicated group of Roma volunteers who shared the passion and desire to further encourage links between the Roma and Scottish diverse cultures at several levels including support and understanding through the promotion of arts and music programmes, educational workshops and seminars, conferences and events at local and national level.

On 27 and 28 August 2022 Ando Glaso arranged the first ever Roma Cultural Festival. It offered visitors the chance to immerse themselves in a programme of live concerts, talks, exhibitions and workshops from Scotland-based Roma artists. The festival was informed by many different projects. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and in partnership with the National Library of Scotland, in 2021-22 Ando Glaso embarked on a year-long journey to explore the cultural heritage of the various Roma communities around Scotland. The finale to this project is a two days long cultural festival, to showcase a wide range of Roma heritage.

The festival held the World premiere of a major new work commissioned by Ando Glaso as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories and funded by Community Stories Programme fund (Museums Galleries Scotland & VisitScotland). The project 'Tales of a Travelling Scotland' explored the cultural heritage of Scotland’s vibrant Traveller community in the same ways their history has been preserved and passed on for centuries; through music, songs and storytelling. The piece was performed by legendary storyteller Jess Smith accompanied by Kevin Whyte, Ian MacGregor and Ciaran Ryan. Other highlights across the two days include concerts by the award-winning Daniel Martinez Flamenco group, Glasgow-based band ZOR (image above – formed of young Roma performers in their teens and twenties), Ando Glaso Collective, Romacaleo and Romane Cierhenia representing the Romanian, Polish, Slovak, Czech and Hungarian Roma communities.

Janos Lang, Creative Director of Ando Glaso, said:

“This unique festival is the first of its kind in Scotland, showcasing the colourful and often invisible Roma cultural heritage. We aimed to put together a program that will showcase performers, experts, artists both from the Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Spanish and the Scottish GRT communities. We hope the festival will strengthen the bond between our fragmented communities as well as provide an opportunity for the wider public to connect with Roma people and culture currently present in Scotland.”

The festival took place at CCA Glasgow on 27 and 28 August, 2022.

This event was supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund was delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

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