Česky English Deutsch Francais
The musical wealth of rural Roma communities
26-02-2004 - David Vaughan

Roma dancers With the recent violent clashes over social welfare reforms, the Roma villages of rural Slovakia have hit the headlines with images of poverty and squalor, but this is only one side of the story. These settlements are also the cultural heartland of Roma throughout Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and also the only place where their traditional musical culture survives. Many Czech Roma have roots in these rural communities, which provide the musical inspiration for such well-known Czech Romany singers as Vera Bila and Ida Kelarova. In this Sunday's edition of our music programme "Magic Carpet", Petr Doruzka will be playing music from an extraordinary CD. It's called "Phurikane gila" or Ancient Romany Songs and was the inspiration of the Slovak ethnologist, Jana Belisova. For the first time it brings together traditional songs from these Roma settlements. Here's Petr Doruzka with more.

"I find the CD very special, because, first, it's like if you open a window to a Gypsy house and see the family singing together, then you see that these people are singing in a different way than I would sing - if I could do it - there is much emotion, there is so much valuable detail - every syllable has its own story, in both the words and the music. So it's a completely new musical world, which it's worth exploring.

"I think there was a very important shift in the past ten years, when non-Gypsy people discovered Gypsy music, and then the Gypsies discovered that their music is in demand. There are so many new bands, which are actually playing something different - sometimes they are mixing Gypsy music with funk or rhythm and blues. One of the biggest sources of inspiration for them is Stevie Wonder. He's a black singer, but if you want the tradition to evolve, you have to mix it somehow and update it. So I think this is just a transitional time, when the Gypsies are finding a new identity, and I hope something very new will come out of it in the next five years."

Related articles
17.02.2004Magic Carpet: Gypsy music - a rediscovered heritage?News
Format for printing
Send as e-mail

Also in section "News"
31.10.19  Roma children’s choir Chavorenge and members of the Czech Philharmonic to perform in UK
13.09.19  Archaeologists discover graves of Roma persecuted during WWII in Lety camp
02.06.19  Ida Kelarová and her Romany children’s choir Chavorenge
29.05.19  Two Roma activists to receive Charter 77’s František Kriegel Award
07.04.19  Romany music from the Czech Republic
13.03.19  Czech singer Věra Bílá, dubbed the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music, dies days before her comeback tour
21.11.18  Roma social worker from Ostrava listed on BBC 100 Women list
12.10.18  Why are there so few Roma politicians?
17.09.18  Virtuoso pianist Tomáš Kačo: When I tell somebody I’m a Gypsy in the US, they’re excited about it
06.06.18  Study indicates ethnic hate is contagious
Archive of the section

Most popular articles
3153053   26.02.00 Some Basic Information about the Roma Population in the Czech Republic
290319   27.01.05 The 'Devouring': A look at the Romani Holocaust
184516   26.02.00 The History and Origin of the Roma
141463   26.02.02 The Language of the Roma
107706   13.06.00 The History of the Roma Minority in the Czech Republic
105260   26.02.00 The Traditional Family Life of the Czech Roma
103929   02.06.03 The Roma Holocaust
88238    World famous Roma Personalities
88174   21.02.04 Extreme right activists demonstrate for skinhead in jail
74801    Photographs by Romani Children
Copyright © Český rozhlas / Czech Radio, 1997-2023
Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic