When the Gypsies first arrived in the British Isles, sometime in the second half of the fifteenth century, they brought with them their own language and, it may be assumed, a body of traditional song, little of which is preserved today. Now Shoon the Romano Gillie gathers together the largest published collection of extant traditional verse in Welsh Romani and Romani English. In his introduction, Tim Coughlan places the material firmly within its linguistic and cultural tradition, explains its characteristics and underlying modes of thought and, by drawing upon a range of related material, underlines its links with both its own European Romani roots and with other native British and Irish traditions, including those of Scottish and Irish travellers. The texts themselves are fully annotated to provide the necessary historical and cultural background. In addition to being the first attempt at a comprehensive overview of the field, Now Shoon the Romano Gillie also contributes to debates on the emergence of Romani English as a reduced form of an older inflected language. It will be an invaluable resource for students of the Gypsy language and traditional song, as well as all those with interests in Traveller communities and cultures.
Tim Coughlan was educated at Worcester College for the Blind and is a former Civil Servant.