'Ghetto Hope': music opens doors to gypsy children
Discordant brass notes escape from a rehearsal room in Sliven's gypsy ghetto, as 15 local boys prepare for band practice and take a break from the poverty-stricken life of the slum outside.
"Now boys -- one, two, three...," band leader Angel Tichaliev calls out and the tunes merge into a bold, lively melody that resonates in the room barely bigger than a one-car garage.
The retired trumpet player formed the Karandila Junior band in 2007 to give a new chance for children and grandchildren of fellow gypsy musicians in this neighbourhood incongruously named Nadezhda, or "hope" in Bulgarian.
"Music is a way to steal the boys away from the everyday reality in the ghetto and to keep the gypsy orchestra tradition alive," says the 56-year-old, who used to play in a military band.
Karandila Junior is Bulgaria's only youth gypsy band. It has already performed at several popular music festivals abroad, including the Vienna Balkan Fever festival and Hungary's famous Sziget Festival.
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