Romani anthem

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Gelem, Gelem
English: I Went, I Went

Ethnic anthem of the Romani people
Also known asOpre Roma (English: Up, Romanies)
LyricsŽarko Jovanović, 1949
MusicŽarko Jovanović, 1949

"Gelem, Gelem" is a song composed by Žarko Jovanović, often used as the anthem of the Romani people. The title has been adapted in many countries by local Roma to match their native orthography and spoken dialect of the Romani language.[1] Some of the song's many titles include

  • "Gyelem, Gyelem" (Hungarian orthography)
  • "Jelem, Jelem"
  • "Dzelem, Dzelem"
  • "Dželem, Dželem" (alternative Croatian and Latin Serbian and Bosnian orthography)
  • "Đelem, Đelem" (Croatian and Latin Serbian and Bosnian orthography)
  • "Djelem, Djelem" (German and French orthography)
  • "Ђелем, Ђелем" (Cyrillic Serbian and Bosnian orthography)
  • "Ѓелем, Ѓелем" (Slavic Macedonian orthography)
  • "Џелем, Џелем" (alternative Cyrillic Serbian and Bosnian orthography)
  • "Джелем, джелем" (Russian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian orthography)
  • "Opré Roma"
  • "Romale Shavale"

In an interview with reporter Mike Kalezić, Jovanović himself titled the song "Opre Roma".[2]

After experiencing firsthand the incarceration of Roma during the Porajmos (the Romani Holocaust of World War II), Jovanović later composed the lyrics of "Gelem, Gelem" and set them to a traditional melody in 1949. The song was first adopted by delegates of the first World Romani Congress held in 1971.[3]


Alternate lyrics[edit]

There are many versions of "Gelem, Gelem", notably those translated by Ronald Lee.[5]


  1. ^ link to alternative song spellings
  2. ^ Kalezić, Mike. "Ministar na koljenima". prvi tamburaški online magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Romani Nationalism, Flag and Anthem". Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  4. ^ Nazi genocide of Roma and Sinti people
  5. ^ "Djelem Djelem [Romani] song lyrics". Archived from the original on 2012-11-27. (archived 2 April 2007).


External links[edit]