Audio, Editorial

Gitanos de Portugal

Gitanos de Portugal con motivo de la exposición Vidas Gitanas que será inaugurada en Lisboa el 23 de septiembre. Nos lo cuenta José Luis Fernández, comisario de la muestra.

Y escuchamos el fado flamenco del grupo Ciganos D¿ouro, una selección de tangos extremeños y fronterizos cantados en portugués, y a la gran fadista gitana Cedalia Moreira.

Audio, Editorial, Video

The Streets of Cairo in Coney Island from 1890s-1900s

There are surely hundreds of regional interpretations of this tune, few knows of its origin and its importance to the New York City midway and sideshows of the early nineteenth century. Best known as “The Streets of Cairo,” it is oftentimes connected to visions of Arabia and Egypt, to snake charmers, belly dancers, and other mysterious notions of Near East mysticism.

Although not quite “a place in France,” there were certain locations in New York where the fabled song came to life. “The Streets of Cairo” sideshow was constructed on Surf Avenue, Coney Island, after the success of the Algerian Village at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893.

Sol Bloom, the entertainment director of the Columbian exposition, claimed to have composed the melody as the theme for the “Algerian” performances. (The song can actually be traced back much further to the 1700s Arabic song “Kradoutja”). Because Bloom did not copyright the song, New York vaudevillian entertainers quickly purloined the tune.


Byron and Company. Show at Coney Island with a man “levitating” a woman on stage, ca. 1908.


Byron and Company. Crowd wandering through the “Streets of Cairo” show with camels at Coney Island, ca 1896.

The Victorian taste for Oriental exoticism was insatiable. It was a time of ardent ethnographic interest; the richly illustrated National Geographic Magazinelaunched in 1888 and commercial photographs of the region were sold for home entertainment in the form of stereographs and ready-made travel albums. The awe-inspiring sight of the ancient, enigmatic pyramids and startlingly divergent culture was both frightening and alluring. During a time when overseas tourism was reserved for the elite, “The Streets of Cairo” transformed the sands of Coney Island Beach into that of an Arabic desert for the middle and working classes. It is likely that the Atlantic Ocean beyond its walls was a welcomed mirage on sweltering summer days.


Byron and Company. Crowd watching a barker at the “Streets of Cairo” show at Coney Island, ca 1896.

The above photograph depicts the carnival “barker.”  Perhaps he is shouting this enticing pitch:

“This way for the Streets of Cairo! One hundred and fifty Oriental beauties! The warmest spectacle on earth! Pre-sen-ting Little Egypt! See her prance, see her wriggle! See her dance the Hootchy Kootchy! Anywhere else but in the ocean breezes of Coney Island she would be consumed by her own fire! Don’t rush! Don’t crowd! Plenty of seats for all!…When she dances, every fiber and every tissue in her entire anatomy shakes like a jar of jelly from your grandmother’s Thanksgiving dinner. Now, gentlemen, I don’t say that she’s hot. But I do say that she is as hot as a red hot stove on the fourth day of July in the hottest county in the state.”
Good Old Coney Island, Edo McCullough


Byron and Company. Woman gypsy/dancer posing outside at Coney Island, ca 1896. Museum of the City of New York.

“Little Egypt” became an adopted stage name for the main dancers of the “Streets of Cairo” exhibit, the most famous of whom were Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, Ashea Wabe, and Fatima Djemille. The “hootchy cootchy” they performed was a caricature of traditional Middle Eastern dance that was more like an early form of burlesque. Although under an ethnographic guise, this risqué performance was perceived as quite provocative at the time.  This oriental cliché quickly became a fad (up to 20 “cootchy shows” would be performed at one time) and “Little Egypt” attained celebrity status. Ashea Wabe made front page news when she was busted for dancing at socialite Herbert Seeley’s Fifth Avenue Bachelor Party in 1896; the scandal came to an unfortunate end in 1906 when she was found dead by asphyxiation, leaving behind a $200,000 fortune.


Byron and Company. Woman gypsy/dancer seated in her side-show theatre at Coney Island, ca 1896. Museum of the City of New York.

This photograph depicts a “Little Egypt” dancer smoking a Hookah in her harem. One can imagine the scent of tobacco and incense in the densely packed theatre. Even at Coney Island, the attire of the audience would have been conservative, with suit jackets and long dresses scarcely baring an ankle or wrist. In stark contrast, the dancer’s gauzy silks and potentially exposed midriff must have been startling.


Byron and Company. A woman in a carnival or side-show with three large pythons, ca 1895. Museum of the City of New York.

A precedent to “The Streets of Cairo,” female snake charmers added a touch of Eastern mysticism to the classic side show lineup. The snake charming tradition dates back to Ancient Egypt and is still practiced today at the Coney Island Circus Sideshow.


Byron and Company. Arabian Acrobats demonstrating acrobatic feats on the roof of Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre, ca 1908. Museum of the City of New York.

For those who chose not to make the expedition down to Coney Island for their Oriental fix, the uniquely landscaped roof of Hammerstein’s Victoria (42nd Street at 7th Avenue) served as an alternative. Hammerstein produced a vaudeville adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé that emphasized  the notorious “Dance of the Seven Veils” and ran an astonishing 22 weeks. The above photograph depicts the incredible feats of strength performed by Arabic acrobats, it is possible that a similar display was presented as an opening act.


Byron and Company. The operatic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” with music by Richard Strauss, presented at the Metropolitan Opera House on January 22, 1907. Museum of the City of New York.

In 1907 the Near East dance fad attempted to cross over from sideshow to center stage when the Metropolitan Opera presented Richard Strauss’s interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. It was the most elaborate and expensive production to date, costing nearly $20,000. The famous belly dance and kissing finalé was considered a disgrace and the show closed after the opening night, and would not be performed at the Met again for twenty-seven years.  The  New York Times  headline bluntly states the reaction of the upper class: “How the Audience Took It: Many Disgusted by the Dance and the Kissing of the Head.”


Byron and Company. Beggar among the crowd on Surf Avenue, Coney Island, ca 1896. Museum of the City of New York.

As the first wave of British and French colonialism came to an end,  the tawdry cultural stereotypes of the Middle East lost popularity in the sideshow  circuit.  Although the Hootchy Cootchy show faded from view as if an apparition, American culture remains deeply entranced by the melody. The next time you hear the infamous tune, peer through the “hole in the wall” to old New York and, if possible, allow yourself to be seduced by Little Egypt.


What’s it like to be Romanian in London


This assignment presents a short feature radio program, named – What’s it like to be Romanian in London. The aim is to investigate why Romanians are in London. Also, one of my themes is to understand how/what Romanians think about London. In this radio feature I identified and investigated a part of the Romanian community in London. I approached the subject from different angles. I analyzed what London means for the people interviewed; moreover how easy is to be Romanian in London.

The feature was made in 2004.

The study will include the origins of the idea, the angle from which the story is treated, why this subject can attract the attention of audiences, how the story developed in time, recording sessions and techniques, the connection between the form and content of the subject and the news schemata format. Also, I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses involved in the creation of the artifact.

The origins of the idea

In the past there have been many stories in radio, newspapers and magazines about immigrants. In Britain this has been a hot topic of discussion. In The Guardian on 10 May 2004 an article reported on the topic of the 100 years ago when Jewish foreigners come to Britain. According to the article “after 1880 tens thousands of Jews arrived in Britain from Eastern Europe and they were met with suspicion and fear”. “In 1900, some 3000 Jews left Romania crossed Europe by foot until they arrived on British soil”. The article mentions Robert Winder’s book – Bloody Foreigners, in which is examined “the first great immigration crisis of the 20th century”. The foreigners in the article are called “unfortunates who came here (Britain) to seek rest”. I want to investigate how this claim is regarded now to foreigners. As one of them, I decided to investigate what Romanians feel about London. During my studies I meet a number of Romanians living in London. Having knowledge why some Romanians leave Romania, I have decided to investigate how Romanians see London, how they feel in London and why they choose to come and live here.

The subject of Romanians in London is interesting because of different reasons. Firstly, the radio feature has a target for all the audiences. The issue of a minority, who decides to live in a particular place, therefore to live and work is difficult. Moreover, due to the EU enlargement on May this year, the British press warned that millions would flood in. Probably in the near future, the number of new European citizens who come and live in UK will rise. The expected influx of workers and immigrants from the new member states is one of the most sensitive issues in the enlargement process. But despite all this, Romania is one of the countries, which is on the list to join the European Union by 2007. The focus of the theme is how and why Romanians like London. From a different angle, the audience will understand why people, especially Romanians chose London.

The subject – Romanians in London is important news and people should know about this. My idea was to inform people and to make them more aware of this kind of news. In particular, English people because they are more interested in this sort of news. My intention was to inform audiences about people (Romanians) who want to live in London.  Also, you need a proper place where the story can be ‘digested’. The radio feature might be well targeted to Radio 4 audiences. This particular news score is not a ‘need-to know’ feature, but tends to interest listeners.

I think that my story would be relevant for broadcasting on Radio 4 because of the audience target. The station is targeted at people aged 30 onwards. The contents of the Radio 4 schedule are based on the formula: information and sport.

The narratives and structures

It is very important to mention that the majority of the speakers are Romanians; the only two are from Italy and UK. The last two speakers have been interviewed in the lobby of the Brancusi’s exhibition at the Tate Modern.

The narrative of my short radio feature program is formulated as follows:

  1. The speakers explain what they think about London.
  2. Why Romanians leave Romania and why they chose London?
  3. Do English people hate Romanians?
  4. Two of the speakers explain what they think on why Brancusi left Romania.
  5. What the two speakers up above mentioned know about Romania and what English people know Romania?
  6. Why are Romanians in London?

According to Boyd (1997) “Your questions should be aimed at obtaining explanation, opinion and interpretation, rather than just mere facts”. (1997: p.36) I made sure all my questions were open-ended. In this case it encourages them to talk more.

Analyzing the form and the content and the concept of audio montage

The narrative structure has a linear approach and develops as a story. It is very important the structural and conceptual importance of the editing process in the production of the radio program.

According to McLeish (1994) “the aim of an interview is to hear argument and counter-argument expressed in conversational form by people actually holding those views with conviction. The broadcaster can then remain independent. (1994: p128)

The first speaker explains what she thinks of London. Seen as a “gift” and as a “universe”, these words tend to grab the attention of the listeners. For many of audience to be in London are not something extraordinary, therefore they will pay attention to listen why the first speaker believes so. Thus, the listener begins to get concentrated and to listen carefully what will follow. They might ask themselves “who is this person and why she is so excited about London?” Probably, the audience will understand straight away, that the speaker is one of the people from the countries that joined this year the European Union.

The format includes an introduction explaining the topic and why I am reporting such a story. I introduce the new countries that join the EU and the aim of the feature, the audience will understand that the first speaker was in fact Romanian. The Romanian speakers agree with London as “a great place to be” or are described as full of opportunities. They came to London for “freedom”, “experience and money”. In one speaker’s view Romanians come to London because “they want more”. Clearly, from all the answers, people come to London (UK) to fulfill financially. The fourth speaker believes that London is his only home for now on.

The idea of introducing Brancusi in the content of the feature was to examine if his migration to Paris represents the same thing that probably some Romanians decided to live in London. The two speakers (Italian and English) agree that Paris was the “New York of its time” and Brancusi was “pulled”. Artists described by the speakers as “nomads by nature” are looking for opportunities. Brancusi “spread his wings” to Paris. In the same way Romanians are coming to London to “seek opportunities and for a better life”.

The knowledge about Romania is very little according to the speakers. To know more about Romania seems a good idea – “I would like to know more”.

The feature finishes with the speaker’s belief that “London is my home, until I totally close my eyes”.

This radio feature illuminated the speaker’s points of view on the topic of how is to be a Romanian in London. I think that the audience might be pleased with the information I offered. The feature is easy to listen.


The short radio feature that I produced is similar to various other types of radio programs that have already been broadcasted on radio stations. In fact, Radio 4 has many regular radio shows from ethnical stories to sport and cultural news. Its approach to immigration subjects has same basis as other possible radio programs targeted to Radio 4.

All the recording sessions took place at the expert’s places, excluding the speakers interviewed at the Tate Modern. I planned from the beginning the questions that I supposed to ask.

The recorded and editing techniques took place in the South Bank University labs. The format is based on questions and answers; the topic is treated as news. The music by Moby is easy to listen, therefore suitable for the topic. The feature delivers ‘verisimilitude’ and authenticity to the listener. Probably, the content of the radio program might encourage bias and disposition to a particular ideology or perspective.

The idea of reporting such news, I think that is a challenging but not original. The immigration issues are very much broadcast on radio, especially now when the new countries joined the EU.

According to Linda Gage (1999) “the listener may not be able to absorb an idea right away” (1999: p.19) If the first speaker present her feelings about London, ‘encoding the news’, the reporter and the rest of the speakers are ‘decoding’ her feelings. I finished the interview with a high note. People tend to remember best what they hear first and last, so I have tried to make it both ends sparkle. As the fourth speaker agrees, London is his home for the rest of his life.

The editing sessions took place in the university’s lab and I used the non-linear editing software machines. I also used the portable digital recording equipment (the recording minidisk) and the microphone.

The total time of the feature is 7 minutes and 48 seconds.

The idea has a paternalistic point of view. In radio, producers report on events or news they think the listener is interested in. According to Crouse Chuck (1992) agrees that: “one of the oldest and most thoroughly debated questions in journalism is “what is news?” Along the working definitions are “what touches people”, “what interest’s people” and “what people need to know to function in a self-governing society”. More than one authority has proposed the “how-about-that” criterion.”(1992: p.1)


The short radio feature produced and present it has an interesting theme. The listener must be in contact with all that happens around him. This is a good opportunity to learn about a minority living in London. Robert McLeish author of Radio Production states “The topic for a broadcast should be a matter in which there is a genuine public interest or concern.” I think the topic of my radio feature would definitely be of interest. One of the most recent news stories was the scandal of the visa scam in Bucharest and Sofia. My radio program I feel would appeal to almost everybody.

Finally, I hope that this piece can help other students in creating an image of what news report can be.

The list of details for the expert’s contract interviewed in the short feature radio: Ms A. Babes, Mr S. Pandelea, Mr R. Hanganu, Mrs U. Riciardelli, Mrs M. Crowley.


  • Boyd, A. (1997) Broadcast Journalism: Techniques of Radio and News, London, Butterworth Heinemann
  • Crouse, C. (1992) Reporting for Radio, London, Bonus Books
  • Gage, L. (1999) A Guide to Commercial Radio Journalism, Oxford, Focal Press
  • Horstmann, R. (1997) Writing for Radio, London, A&C Black
  • McLeish, R. (1999) Radio Production. London: Focal Press
  • McNair, B. (1999) News and Journalism in the UK, London, Routledge


Winder, R (2004) Alien Nation, The Guardian, G2, 10 May, p2


Los campos de concentración Nazis al descubierto″

Los alemanes crearon una serie de instalaciones de detención para encarcelar y eliminar a los “enemigos del estado.” La mayoría de los prisioneros en los primeros campos de concentración era comunistas alemanes, socialistas, social demócratas, romas (gitanos), testigos de Jehová, homosexuales, clérigos cristianos, y personas acusadas de comportamiento “asocial” o anormal.

Después de la anexión de Austria en marzo de 1938, los nazis arrestaron judíos alemanes y austriacos y los encarcelaron en los campos de Dachau, Buchenwald, y Sachsenhausen, en Alemania. Después de los pogroms de Kristallnacht en noviembre de 1938, los nazis llevaron a cabo arrestos masivos de hombres judíos y los encarcelaron en campos por periodos breves.

Equipos especiales de las SS llamados “Unidades de la calavera” (Totenkopfverbände) vigilaban los campos, y competían unos con otros en crueldad. Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, médicos nazis hacían experimentos sobre los prisioneros de algunos campos. Bajo el impacto de la guerra, el sistema de campos nazis creció rápidamente. Después de la invasión alemana de Polonia en septiembre de 1939, los nazis abrieron campos de trabajos forzados donde miles de prisioneros murieron de agotamiento y hambre.

Después de la invasión alemana de la Unión Soviética en junio 1941, los nazis aumentaron el numero de campos de prisioneros de guerra. Algunos de los campos fueron construidos dentro de campos de concentración ya existentes, como en Auschwitz en la Polonia ocupada. El campo de Lublin, luego conocido como Majdanek, fue creado en el otoño de 1941 como un campo de prisioneros de guerra y fue convertido en campo de concentración en 1943. Miles de prisioneros de guerra soviéticos fueron fusilados o gaseados ahí.

Para facilitar la “Solución Final” (el genocidio de los judíos), los nazis abrieron campos de exterminio en Polonia. Chelmno, el primer campo de exterminio, abrió en diciembre de 1941. Ahí los judíos y romas fueron gaseados en camiones. En 1942, los nazis abrieron Belzec, Sobibor, y Treblinka para asesinar sistemáticamente a los judíos del Gobierno General (el territorio en el interior de la Polonia ocupada).

Los nazis construyeron cámaras de gas para aumentar la eficiencia del proceso y para hacerlo más impersonal para los verdugos. En Auschwitz, el campo de exterminio de Birkenau tenía cuatro cámaras de gas. Al culminar las deportaciones, hasta ocho mil judíos fueron gaseados cada día.

Los judíos en los territorios ocupados por los nazis eran a menudo primero deportados a campos provisionales, como Westerbork en Holanda, o Drancy en Francia. Los campos provisionales eran usualmente la ultima parada antes de un campo de exterminio.

Bajo la dirección de las SS, los alemanes mataron más de tres millones de judíos en los campos de exterminio de la Polonia ocupada.