Gypsy Jam is a long-term project that the Coliseum is delivering in partnership with Roma-led Charity KaskoSan. It has already engaged over 200 Roma children and young people and their families in creative activity, built capacity in the community and now marries musicians in ‘live lounge’ style sessions on the main stage with Roma, Romani Gypsy and Traveller artists.

1. An Introduction to Roma and Romani Gypsy Heritage and Music

Gypsy Jam


In this film, Richard O’Neill and Juice Vamosi discuss the rich history of the Romani Gypsy and Roma people, exploring the connections between their linked but distinct heritage. Originating in India, the story of their roots takes us through the middle east and North Africa to contemporary Europe and Britain - and for Richard and Juice, to the North of England.

To celebrate Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month and to launch our Gypsy Jam series, Richard and Juice bring to life the rich musical traditions of the Romani Gypsy and Roma cultures and present a jam session using acoustic instruments and shared music-making practices.


The film launches a large-scale partnership project between the theatre and Roma-led charity, KaskoSan, which aims to supports Roma people in Oldham and provide a platform for new Gypsy, Roma and Traveller talent.


Film by Grant Archer.

2. With special guest Testament

Gypsy Jam

The first in a series of live jam sessions with acclaimed artists from Greater Manchester. In this film Richard and Juice are joined onstage by special guest, rapper and world record breaking human beatboxer, Testament. Together, through re-imagining traditional Roma and Romani Gypsy music and lyrics, Richard, Juice and Testament bring to life their individual musical inspirations, and share stories and sounds in a live and lively jam session performed to a live audience at the Coliseum.


Gypsy Jam is a series of live music sessions exploring the rich lyrical and performance traditions of the Roma and Romani Gypsy cultures with Richard O’Neill and Juice Vamosi.

Film by Grant Archer

Richard O’Neill

Richard is a multi-award-winning storyteller, author and playwright born and raised in a large traditional nomadic Romani family, whose history in England and Scotland goes back hundreds of years. Richard continues the tradition of travelling across the UK and mainland Europe, delivering storytelling sessions and storytelling skills workshops at schools, libraries, festivals, universities and theatres. He has a particular interest in using literature to promote inclusion and social mobility.

Juice Vamosi

Juice is a community worker, translator and journalist. He grew up in a poor Roma (Gypsy) community in Southern Hungary. He was the first of his family to graduate from high school, and the first in his community to earn a university degree. In 2010, he built the KaskoSan social network which became the first global Roma brand. In Hungary, he promoted Kis Grofo, a young Roma talent, to become the highest paid musical entertainer in the country.

More about Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, History Month


Every June since 2008, people from across the UK have celebrated Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. Through celebration, education and raising awareness, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month helps to tackle prejudice, challenge myths and to amplify the voices of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in wider society.


This year, the theme for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month is ‘Make Some Space’, encouraging people across the UK to ‘Make Some Space’ for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in their day to day lives.


Download the participation pack and resource from Friends, Families and Travellers to learn more: Download here



For more information about the project contact Olivia Race, Head of Learning and Engagement at

Terms used in the Gypsy Jam project: Roma and Romani Gypsy


Following guidance from Juice Vamosi we use the term Roma to describe ‘East European Gypsies’ who came to live in the UK after several East European countries joined the EU 17 years ago, and the term Romani Gypsy to describe those who first migrated to the UK 500 years ago. Both of these communities came from India and spoke the Romani language (a mix of ancient Sanskrit and ancient Greek).   



  • ‘Roma’ is a noun, it comes from the word ‘Rom’ which means ‘a male human being’. ‘Roma’ is the plural of ‘Rom’ which means ‘human beings’ 
  • ‘Romani’ is the adjective form of ‘Roma’. It follows the ‘noun-adjective’ logic of self designation terms such as ‘Italy - Italian’, ‘Spain - Spanish’, ‘England - English’ etc. 
  • At the International Romani Union’s (IRU) first congress organised in London in 1971 (the first major Gypsy gathering ever) the word ‘Roma’ was suggested to be used as the politically correct term for ‘Gypsy’, since the word Gypsy is used in both a positive, but often in a negative context and has become a racial slur. In Eastern Europe the original meaning of the word ‘Gypsy’ was slave.
  • ‘Roma’ (plural noun form) or ‘Romani’ (adjective form) is a self designation term, this is how Gypsies call themselves in their own language.
  • ‘Romani Gypsy’ refers to the Gypsies originating from India, that also spoke the Romani language and first arrived in the UK in the 1500s. In the UK the term ‘Romani Gypsy’ is also used to differentiate the ‘Romani Gypsies’ that moved to the UK five centuries ago from other Gypsies in the U.K. who share the ‘gypsy’ lifestyle, but do not originate from India, for example Irish Travellers.

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