Juliet - Legend of the Violin

 

As the Roma passed through Europe, they adapted the local instruments to their own music. In Spain they excelled on guitar and in Greece they were famed for their skill on the clarinet and other wind instruments. But it was in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary that the Roma became associated with the violin. The Roma have numerous legends about how the violin was magically created for them.
 
One tells of a young Romani girl named Mara who was in love with a Gadje (non-Gypsy) who didn't love her in return. She called on the Devil, who promised to make the young man love her, if she would give her family to him. She did so and the Devil turned her father into a violin, her four brothers into the strings and her mother into the bow. She learned to play the instrument and attracted the Gadje to her bed, whereupon the Devil appeared and carried them both away. A young Roma passed by a few days later and found the violin and returned to his camp with it and learned to play it. And to this day, because the violin was born in such sorrow, even when a Gypsy plays a happy song on his instrument, it always has a sad sound.