Ida Kelarová is a singer, musician and choirmaster who performs some of the best Romany music to come out of the Czech Republic. Paradoxically it was years before she discovered her Romany roots and drew inspiration from Roma culture and music. Today this legacy has become an important part of her life and she works hard to help talented Romany children living in excluded localities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
A procession by Roma musicians, singers and dancers from all over the world
will pass through the centre of Prague on Friday as part of the annual
Khamoro festival. The parade will start at the lower part of Wenceslas
Square at midday on Friday and head to the Old Town Square.
The 21st edition of the week-long festival of Romany culture got underway last Sunday, offering various concerts, workshops and seminars. It will culminate on Saturday with a gala concert at the Prague club SaSaZu on Saturday.
Khamoro, the World Roma Festival of music and culture, kicks off on Sunday
evening with a free concert by the band Gipsy Suno in Prague’s Karlín
The annual week-long event is now celebrating its 21st year. Apart from a wide variety of traditional and modern Romany music, the programme features exhibitions, theatrical performances, a fashion show and public discussions.
Khamoro, which means sun in the Roma language, is the largest such festival in the world. It peaks on Saturday with a gala concert featuring Fanfare Ciocarlia (Romania), 3000 DeSCencias (Spain), Ivan Herák (Czechia), and Romengo (Hungary), among others.
Věra Bílá died of a heart attack this week, days before her scheduled comeback tour. The Roma singer, who was widely regarded as a great talent and once sang to sold out audiences across the world, spent the last years of her life heavily in debt and living in a lodging house. Since her death, many have said that her songs will forever live on as exceptional examples of the world music genre.
The Czech Republic’s most famous Romany singer Věra Bílá has died at
the age of 64, the news site Romea.cz reported. The singer reportedly died
in hospital after suffering a heart attack.
Bílá gained international acclaim performing Romany folk songs with the group Kale. They released their first album in 1996 and in later years performed live at venues around Europe and the United States.
Věra and Kale split up in 2005 on account of Bílá’s problems with gambling. Only this week she was planning to make a big comeback with Jan Bendig and Milan Krok, one of the singers from Kale.
Renowned Czech musician Iva Bittová turns 60 on July 22nd. An excellent singer, violinist and composer, Bittová has never focused on one particular genre. She plays and sings folk music, jazz, rock as well as opera. She has also starred in several Czech films and appeared on stage at home and abroad.
The week-long festival of Romany culture Khamoro continued on Friday with a
colorful parade through the city center with over 250 Romany musicians and
dancers from different countries and regions taking part.
The festival also offers a concert of traditional Roma music at La Fabrika with artists from Russia, Portugal and Romania, a football tournament and a gala concert at the Prague Club SaSaZu on Saturday.
Iva Bittová is a phenomenal Czech avant-garde violinist, singer and composer who has developed a music style of her own. She moved to upstate New York over ten years ago where she continues performing and teaching both children and adults. We talked after one of her workshops in Prague about her career, her future projects and her passion for helping underprivileged youth to realize their full musical potential.