Subscribe to our Newsletter

Romany Rai, The

Back to browse page
Performer: Smith, Wiggy
Place Collected: Elmstone Hardwicke
Date collected: 13th April 1995
Collector: Davies, Gwilym
Roud Number: 4844

This song is from an original entitled “The Romany Rye”, written by C Bellamy and G Weeks in 1885, Rai being a Romany word for gentleman. The song has been taken up almost exclusively by gypsy singers and has spread out into several different versions, adding and losing verses on the way. Although it must be well known to gypsy singers, it has been rarely noted by collectors.

The word “didikai” is often used pejoratively to describe gypsies, although its original meaning is a person who is half gypsy, half non-gypsy. It is curious to find a song in which the gypsy singer calls himself a didikai.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 2 July 2015