The thing that links Roma with time is music. As a form of artistic expression it can be traced back to the 3rd century. Some specialists in Romani history trace the name Rrom/i (the name Roma give to themselves in the Romani language) to the Dom people . In India, this name was given to an ancient tribe of wandering musicians. What is undeniable is that music has been a vital part of Romani life since the time of the first historical documents making reference to them. Documentation of this had been found from the 9th century throughout Europe in the territories of the Empire of Constantinople . Roma are ambassadors for Eastern music in Europe. They have preserved its Eastern roots while also introducing new autochthonous sounds, and in turn have shaped the music in which they have come into contact. Romani influences are noticeable in much of Balkan music, both classical and popular. Examples from classical music include Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms, while those from the popular realm include Klezmer, Czardas and the manele music style. In Spain, Romani influences are present in the work of Granados, Falla and Turina, and particularly in flamenco music.
Romani music, far from being limited to a static and unequivocal vision, continues to explore new forms of expression: Caló influences can be heard in today’s rock, pop, jazz, hip-hop, funk, minimal and techno music. One of the most fruitful and ignored forms of Romani music from the last five decades are Romani spiritual songs known as alabanzas. There are practically no bibliographical references about them and yet their influence on most Romani artists of recent decades is clear. They comprise an ignored genre that has had a silent influence on Spanish music. Much Romani, or Romani-influenced music from recent decades cannot be understood without an understanding of Romani spiritual music. Its influence is present in artists such as Los Chichos, Ray Heredia, El Zingaro, Niña Pastori, Ketama, Lole y Manuel, La Barbería del Sur, Parrita, Guadiana, Montse Cortés and many others. Not surprisingly many of these artists practice the evangelical religion and have interpreted and continue to interpret alabanzas.