In 2022 we did 2 flash mob performances with the European Caravan Community. After some years of restrictions where it was difficult to gather and to organize performances all together we wanted to spread a message of hope, love and solidarity.
We decided to work in the public space and go with our art to the audience in the center of the capital of North Macedonia, Skopje and near the center of the capital of Catalunya, Barcelona.
The action in Skopje caught the attention of different media. “Cece Nikolova” from the magazin “Tocka” and national television “Alfa Televizija” wrote this article about the action in Skopje:
In Skopje Over 40 Roma and non-Roma people together in one voice sang the worldly renowned hit “Macarena” in Roma language and sent a powerful message.
It was interesting to witness how the passers-by reacted to the message they received from the flash mob. At first, a Roma woman handed flowers to every passer-by, asking for a song in return or for them to share what they ate that day. She was trying to wake the positivity in people in every way, and as a reward they would get a flower.
In this situation one could easily spot ignorance and refusal, people that wouldn’t like to joke around with “the Roma girl that sells flowers”, people that “didn’t have time” to stop and listen that they didn’t have to pay for the flowers. On the other side, one could see elderly women or couples that were amazed by the main actress’s charisma and stopped to actually win themselves some flowers.
Actually, it was the second part of the mob that caught the biggest attention, when the main actress screamed to a couple that pushed her flowers, which according to the story, were to be sold. This scene caught the attention of the passers-by, so that later on they could hear the message sent by “Macarena”. If the conflict could get someone’s attention, music could hold it. In the end that was the case with the people of Skopje.
A flash mob is a great way to get people’s true reactions for a situation in our society, and that was concluded by the way people were interested in what we had to show them.
The non-governmental organization “Madam Fortuna” from Belgium, together with “MIR” from North Macedonia and “Taller de Músics” from Spain, leads the “European Caravan” project – a project that uses art to fight all prejudices, intolerance and discrimination contained in a society. In the project of Macarena they were working together with Roma Theater from Skopje and “Carabutsi” from Barcelona.
The true aim of this flash mob is to connect young Roma people with other young people, meanwhile increasing their consciousness about art and its meaning. The idea is to solve the misunderstandings between them through music. Roma people are still not integrated enough in society, neither from a social or a cultural aspect, meanwhile completely stagnating in any economical process. This shows that the Roma community is one of the marginalized groups in North Macedonia. Still, there are some exceptions that serve as a positive example and should be a leading point for everyone else.
In Barcelona we worked on a parody of the song “Chaborró”. A Catalan Rumba song of “Peret Reyes” and one of the musical leaders of the project “Sam Mosketon”.
The song talks about a village where something was stolen and automatically a Roma family was accused by everyone. In the end it turned out that the Roma family was innocent and it was about prejudice. In Barcelona we started working on this song with about 40 young Roma and non Roma from Macedonia, Belgium and Catalunya.
Led by musical accompanists, the groups were divided into different subgroups after a few days of collective activities. A group teamed up with the young talented rapper “JuanSnk” from the “Cabal Musical” project of “Taller de Músics” to rework the lyrics. They kept the same theme but gave it their own interpretation.
One of the youngsters from Barcelona “Manu”, who also plays guitar himself, worked under the direction of “Sam Mosketon” on the guitar playing for the group.
A drum group “Sambossa” came to work with the group around percussion, and took in charge the drums with some solos. We also worked around dance and theater to give more strength to the performance and to stimulate an active role in the flashmob for the female participants.
The flashmob in Barcelona was organized in collaboration with the cultural center Albareda. The flashmob came directly after a concert they organized in the park “Las 3 chimeneas”. After this concert, a discussion was provocated by some members of the group in which they accused a Roma member of Macedonia for stealing a mobile phone. The moment everyone is watching and it looks like they are about to fight, the music starts and they give a hug. This was the start of a festive moment of joy that the public will remember for a long time.
Here’s a video of the work in progress done by Jack Tarradellas: