ando drom 1Ando Drom are a Roma ensemble from Budapest in Hungary. The ensemble was founded in 1984 by the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jeno Zsigó. Ando Drom (Romani for “on the road”) is also the name of a foundation established by Jeno Zsigo that works in close collaboration with the Roma parliament for the preservation of the culture and identity of the Roma in Hungary and organises music, theatre and art workshops for young talent.
Jeno Zsigo was initially a social worker in the Roma settlements of Budapest and headed a children’s chorus and dance troupe at the beginning of the 1980s with which he regularly toured throughout Hungary. The group were always hugely popular and following an extraordinarily successful performance at a festival in 1984, he decided to form the Ando Drom ensemble.
The members of the ensemble come from various social strata in Hungarian society and reflect the different Roma traditions existing in the country. The ensemble covers the traditional treasury of songs of the various Roma branches as well as contemporary compositions. The band also play their own compositions that have ensued over the years. In addition to violin, accordion, guitar and mandolin as melody instruments, masterly employed milk churns, clay pots and spoons serve as traditional percussion instruments. Mouth-basses, a characteristic percussive vocal accompaniment, is often used in the dance songs. The very emotional pieces are sung in Romani and are about the pain of separation, yearning for love, conflict resolution and other such topics. Five musicians currently form the core of Ando Drom. They are accompanied in concert by young, talented guest musicians. Besides music, dance is an integral part of the Ando Drom stage show.
From 1995 to 2003, the Hungarian Romni and singer Mónika Juhász Miczura, also known as Mitsou, was a member of Ando Drom. Her unique and very expressive way of singing significantly defined the ensemble, contributing greatly to its international renown. She left the group in 2003 and together with other former members of Ando Drom founded the experimental electronica/world music group Mitsoura.
In 1992, Ando Drom released their debut album “Chants Tziganes de Hongrie” which was recorded in France. The album “Kai Phirel o Del” followed in 1995 on which the singer Mitsou can be heard. Two years later came the album “Phari Mamo” featuring the French band Bratsch and Hungarian cimbalom virtuoso Kálmán Balogh and which turned out to be a big success. Other albums followed that were highly acclaimed by critics and public alike.
Ando Drom is one of the most popular and successful Roma folklore ensembles in Hungary and regularly perform to sold-out houses. Even outside their home country, the ensemble’s live shows are very popular and they have performed in concert and at festivals in France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Holland, Belgium and England as well as many other countries.
Discography (excerpt):
1992 Chants Tziganes de Hongrie
1995 Kai Phirel o Del
1997 Phari Mamo
2007 Muro Nav


Text: Robert Lippuner / Gypsy Music Network
Translation: Jamie Davies


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