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On the Sepečides in Izmir and surroundings

Told by Osman Zambakli
Duration: 01:46
Source: Radio Romano Centro No. 16, produced by the association Romano Centro (Vienna), broadcast on 30th July 1998, ORF-Radio 1476 (= Phonogrammarchiv, Austrian Academy of Sciences, SD 5162) (Broadcast excerpt); recorded by Mozes Heinschink among Sepečides in Izmir, Turkey.
Date: 1998

Sare o Roma, amare Roma avile Selanikistar. Amare Roma sevla kerena. Bazi akharena, hamali vakerasa lenge. I gadžengere šeja akharena. Isi Roma ko mazas kerena buti, ko tütüni. So buti te arakhen, o Roma kerena, ama daha but sevla kerena. Sevla kerasa, chorachanes Sepečides vakerena amenge. Jani o zanati na mulo, ko gava ama, ko Izmiri andre na kerena sevla. Çirpiköys, Arapçiköys, Çaybaşıs sare o Roma sevla kerena. Ama isi Roma, džana pampuki gidena ko tarlades. Isi Roma hurbuze egtinena, hurbuze biknena, ama daha but Roma sevla kerena. Isi Roma bašnen da ušakerena. Mej bašnen ušakereava, miro zanati da, miro kova muklom o sevla, akana bašnen ušakerava. Ko Izmiri andre mo phral, o čhave, o murša kerena teracha. Neve teracha kerena, Konduradžides vakerena lenge. O čhaja so kerena, o Romna? Džana ismetčiliki kerena, ko madames kerena buti. Isi Roma džana tütüni, ko tütüni, ko mazas buti kerela. Isi čhave, bojadžiluki kerela, terachengiri boja. Bazi isi čalgîčides, čalgîčiluki kerena. Ake i romani buti adikal isi ko Izmiri andre.

All our Roma have come from Thessaloniki. Our Roma weave baskets. Some carry loads, we call them carriers. They carry the loads of the Gadže. There are Roma working in the tobacco fields. The Roma do whatever work they find. We mainly produce baskets. In Turkish they call us "Sepečides" (basket weavers). This means that this occupation has not died out in the villages. In the city of Izmir itself baskets are no longer woven. Baskets are woven in Çirpiköy, Arapçiköy and Çaybaşı, all Roma know how to weave baskets there. But there are also Roma going out into the fields to pick cotton. You find Roma who grow melons and sell them. Most Roma, however, are basket weavers. There are also Roma who organise cockfights. I, too, organise cockfights. I gave up my job as a basket weaver, now I organise cockfights. In the city of Izmir the boys, the men produce shoes. They make new shoes. The Turks call them "Konduradžides". And what do the girls and the Roma women do? They work as charwomen, they work for the posh ladies. There are Roma who work in the tobacco fields. There are Roma boys working as bootblacks. There are also some musicians, who make music. Yes, that’s the sort of work the Roma do in Izmir.