Vera Bila - singer|
Singer Vera Bila was born May 22, 1954 in Rokycany in the Gina family of
musicians. At the age of 15 she started living with her husband Frantisek,
with whom she adopted a son, Frantisek, ten years later. She began her
singing career at family celebrations, weddings and parties with the
dulcimer music of her father, Karol Gina. today she appears with her own
band, Kale, in concerts all over Europe, and North America as well.
Vera Bila called attention to herself and her band in 1995, when her album
Rom pop was released with the substantial production assistance of
singer Zuzana Navarova, and on which her group Kale introduced it's own
songs. For many people at the time, the then forty-year-old singer from
Rokycany was a real discovery, in spite of the fact that she had been
singing since childhood.
In 1998 Vera Bila and Kale released their second album, Kale kalore,
and sold out dozens of concerts around Europe. In France she is revered, in
Canada she was supposedly offered resident status and in the U.S. she was
the star of a festival of Romani music from all over the world.
"When God didn't give me children, he replaced it with something else,"
says Vera Bila.
It could be said that she's a star, but Vera Bila has remained herself -
success hasn't changed her in the slightest. She continues to live in a
small, modestly furnished flat in Rokycany, and she continues to repeat to
every journalist that she's still an ordinary woman. A there is even a film
about the ordinary life of this extraordinary singer and woman, Cernobila v barve (Black And White In Colour),
which took director Mira Erdevicki almost a year to make and which premiered
in the spring of 1999.
In the film, just as in all her interviews, Vera Bila says that she herself
has never encountered any racism in the Czech Republic and that she would
never leave the country. "I would never go anywhere else. You have to
work everywhere. Life isn't a bed of roses anywhere. Not even in Canada. The
majority of those who left returned home in the end. If they had had it good
over there, they never would have done that. I was born in Rokycany and I
want to die here as well. My family is here. Even though living here is
sometimes not easy. My husband and son are unemployed and I have to support
the family, pay the rent and other bills," said Vera Bila in an
interview for Zemske noviny (Zemske noviny, September 12, 1998)
Actually, finances almost became the singer's downfall... Vera Bila was
accused of illegally receiving state support, though she was later acquitted
of the charges.