In I Met Lucky People, Yaron Matras, the world’s leading authority on the Romani, explains why we need to reconsider how we view their culture
Who are the Romani people? As one of the last remaining societies in the Western hemisphere with a strictly oral culture, they have no written record of their history that can be consulted. From the early 1990s, linguist Yaron Matras has been working with the ‘Rom’, as they call themselves, one of a handful of people to have done so. Travelling widely in central and eastern Europe, studying their language and learning their dialects, he has witnessed their campaign for recognition. In I Met Lucky People Matras gives us the first comprehensive account of their culture, language and history. It is a story of the echoes of a rich past left in language and customs, and of how the changing fortunes of Europe throughout the centuries have been imprinted on Romani culture.
‘Required reading’ – Financial Times
Yaron Matras is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Manchester, and Editor of the journal Romani Studies. His involvement with Romani issues began in the advocacy and civil rights arena. Matras was media relations officer to the Roma National Congress from 1988 -1995, and founding editor of RomNews, one of the very first advocacy information services on Romani issues. He has worked closely with the Open Society Institute’s Roma programmes, is a founding member of the European Academic Network on Romani Studies, and has led several large-scale research projects on Romani language and culture, including an international research consortium on Romani migrations. He is the author of over a dozen books and numerous chapters and articles on Romani language and culture, and speaks the Romani language fluently.