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The eleventh year of the international Roma Khamoro festival
14-05-2009 - Press release

Colourful parade through the centre of Prague Recent events have only bolstered our resolve to continue with our work. Khamoro, being the international event it is, has a unique opportunity – and indeed a responsibility – to call the world's attention to the omnipresent difficulties we have to encounter, to problems in this society. We shall not close our eyes to the manifest danger surrounding us which starts with the intimidation of Roma and could easily culminate in attacks against any citizen or inhabitant of this country. Khamoro should therefore be a celebration of Roma culture, and a celebration of the Roma people and of all others who take delight in Roma culture.

Gypsy jazz at Khamoro festival (Photo: Jana Šustová) The eleventh year of the International Roma Khamoro festival held under the auspices of former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Prague mayor Pavel Bém will take place between 25 May and 30 May 2009. The organiser of this event is the NGO Slovo 21. The essence of this festival is Roma music, which can be enjoyed during six concerts. A new component of this festival has since last year been modern Roma music. Gypsy jazz can be seen and heard at two of the concerts while three concerts will feature more traditional performances of, among other things, dulcimer and accordion music.

Straight off on Monday you can expect to be fired up by international band !DelaDap which plays a unique modern mixture of traditional Roma music, jazz and urban electronica. The gig at Lucerna Music Bar is scheduled for 25 May.

The following day, also at Lucerna Music Bar, there will be this year's star performance by legendary formation The Rosenberg Trio which has already for many years been internationally considered as the highest possible incarnation of Gypsy jazz. Jazz also features on the Wednesday programme. The young and talented Basily Boys, who like the The Rosenberg Trio come from the Netherlands, will present themselves at Reduta Jazz Club.

Colourful parade through the centre of Prague The first of the concerts of traditional Roma music will take place on Thursday in Club Roxy. You can expect the dashing Italian Acquaragia Drom, the highly original Nadara band from Romania and the typical sound of the Balkans created by the Šutka brass band from Macedonia. On Friday we will also invite you to the Roxy to see a dulcimer ensemble lead by young violinist Marek Balog, the Hungarian group Romengo, the beautiful singer Leonsia Erdenko from Russia and the Danish accordion virtuoso Lelo Nika. The music programme will be concluded on 30 May with a final gala concert in the Prague Concert Centre which, along with seven traditional music groups, will feature a special guest, the violinist Pavel Šporcl and the Slovak band Romano Stilo.

The accompanying activities of the Khamoro 2009 festival will further introduce you to other aspects of Roma culture, traditions and present-day life. The Dutch Roma Days offer you an insight into the closed world of Dutch Roma and Sinti. The already mentioned Gypsy jazz concerts are held in the framework of the Dutch Roma Days but in Aero cinema you can also see a series of screenings of documentary films by the distinguished Dutch film-maker Bob Entrop and an exhibition of black and white photographs by Šahin Šišić which will be opened on Friday in the National Minorities House.

In the Aventin building there will be an exhibition of sculptures, drawings, and photographs by German artist Otto Pankok referring to the genocide committed against the Roma and Sinti by the German Nazi regime.

This time around the annual dance workshops, part of the accompanying activities of the festival, will be lead by dancer and choreographer Petia Iourtchenko in the Zambra studio who will teach you the fundamentals of traditional Roma dances.

At some of the festival events you will have the opportunity to see the travelling exhibition of photographs taken by Jiří Doležel called “Roma from Vsetín” . One of the most popular highlights of the festival is without doubt the colourful parade through the centre of Prague – come to Můstek on Thursday noon and join us to the accompaniment of the sounds of Roma music from the entire world on our walk through the centre of Prague!

In the framework of the specialist part of the festival, which will last until Friday and is partially organised by the Charles University Faculty of Arts, an international expert seminar will be held in the National Minorities House with the theme “Roma culture as part of European culture”. The seminar will be held by world-renowned experts in the field of Roma culture. Throughout the entire week there will also be a series of international workshops, entitled “We have a long road before us”, for young people from four European countries dealing with Roma history, culture and traditions.

This year's festival will feature more than 110 artists and experts from 16 countries. Like every year, it will be attended by fans and journalists from around the world. The main partner of the festival is the Capital City of Prague. The festival is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the ČEZ Foundation and other entities. The principal media partner is Czech Television and other media partners are Czech Radio, Radio Rota, Romano Hangos, Romea.cz and Radio 1.

Further information on the festival is available at www.khamoro.cz.



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