My name is Jozef Feco (in performance Jozka). I was born on April 29, 1940
in Lucka in the Bardejov region of eastern Slovakia. I graduated from an
eight-year high school. Since I was eleven, I've studied classical music on
the violin. I studied privately with Professor Bozits for 5 and 1/2 years
altogether. I played for him every day for five hours. After four years I
was already playing etudes by such composers as Kraicer, Mazas, Fiorilo and
so on. I also played violin concertos - such Beriot's 7th and 9th concertos,
Mendelsohn's Concerto in E minor op. 64, Bartholdy, Chakon's in D minor and
so on. I got to such an artistic level that in 1956 my professor recommended
me for study at the Prague Conservatory.
We had no idea, though, what sad fortune awaited me. When I played all the
compulsory pieces for the panel with absolutely professional skill, without
mistakes and stylistically pure, I found that it wasn't enough for them at
all. Their wry faces and idle speech helped me understand their malicious
intent. They didn't accept me into the school. My prefessor learned from his
friend Dr. Stejskal, professor of the violin department, that I wasn't
accepted not for a lack of talent or low level of technical maturity, but
only from the apprehension that I would leave school in the final year to go
play in the pubs and inns around the city, just like a Rom who had studied
at the conservatory had done. I almost fainted at the time. So I lost my
desire to become a solo concert violinist. Nothing, daily tears and
lamenting, nothing helped me. Everything was futile. However my fate is
understood, in any case the totalitarian society hurt me in the worst way.
Primarily through its egoistic and racist conviction.
In 1966 I moved to Prague and was soon married. In 1968 I founded a guitar
band, which I gave the name ROMA STAR. I played in many concerts with this
group, as well as studio recordings. Since 1973 I've changed over to a
different style of music. This is folklore and tavern music. I was the
bandleader and first violin. In 1981, I was invited by the OSA [performing
rights group] to examinations, where I was also successful and since that
year I'm recorded as a professional composer and song-writer.
At the present time I'm on an invalidity pension and I'm now finishing my
fourth musical with a Romani story. I am the author of the music and
libretto. I consider my best piece to be the Romani opera "Gena a Bela." The
best of my other work are the four musicals Teta Lydie (children's musical),
Bar u Roberta (for adults), Pasak a jeho svet (for adults), and Jagali Phuv
(in the form of a film).