“I know most of the Lees, Lovells and Boswells ... and our Rokraben (Gypsy language) differs from yours. My father was a Gorga and my poor mother was Romany, one of the Woods. I think we should be able to bring many things to light about the Ancient Language: for my part I think it was one of the first spoken.” Letter to Francis Hindes Groome, 1887.

Shikawa Romanus | Learning Romany resulted from a desire to reclaim and preserve what’s left of the lived Welsh Kale language that John Roberts, the Woods, the Lees, the Lovells, the Boswells and many other Welsh Gypsy families used in their everyday lives.

This is a narrative told by Roma. Shikawa Romanus offers a reliable source of knowledge as it has been passed down the generations from father to son.

The speaker on our audio recordings of Shikawa Romanus is Robert Lovell Kamulo. His father, Adolphus Lovell was born into the traditional Romany life of travelling with horse and vardo. He was born at an Atchintan – stopping place at the Rom camp in the Upper Race, Pontypool, South Wales. After WWII, he settled in New Zealand and continued speaking the language of his Welsh Romany ancestors.

With Shikawa Romanus | Learning Romany we can learn more about the Welsh Romani community and a fascinating language, history and culture, joining a worldwide network of Roma artists, academics and activists.


Bob Lovell Kamulo
Frances Roberts Reilly

“What you get a very real sense of from the recordings is a spirit, tradition and heritage that is alive and kicking. It is not something just for the museums and galleries. To be sure, the knowledge that is being shared here is a real community asset.”
Colin Clarke, PhD

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