Česky English Deutsch Francais
Romany music from the Czech Republic
07-04-2019 - Daniela Lazarova
On the eve of International Roma Day, Radio Prague is featuring music by some of the country’s best Romany singers.

If you want to experience the diversity of Romany music –not just from the Czech regions – but from around the world, you want to attend the annual festival of Romany culture Khamoro (which means “sun” in the Romany language). The week-long festival has a twenty-year-old tradition and has grown in strength, offering Romany bands and singers from around the world, exhibitions, film screenings, dance work-shops and seminars on Roma history and culture. The highlight of the Prague festival is a colorful procession of costumed singers and dancers winding their way through the city center. Over the years Khamoro has attracted over 160 Romany bands from 40 countries the world over and is now considered the best-known Roma festival in Europe and beyond.

Iva Bittová is an avant-garde Romany singer, violinist and composer whose fame transcended Czech borders. Bittová's music is a blend of rock and East European music which she describes as "my own personal folk music". Her violin playing mixes different techniques, including playing the strings with various objects and plucking them like a banjo. Her vocal utterances range from traditional singing to chirping, cackling and deep throat noises. She puts her whole body into her performances, drawing on her theatrical skills. She has performed across Europe, in the US and Japan, riveting audiences with her unique style.

Ida Kelarová (Iva Bittová’s sister) is a singer, musician and choirmaster who performs some of the best Romany music to come out of the Czech Republic. She annually holds a summer school for talented Romany children from socially vulnerable families living in excluded localities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Her Romany children's choir Čhavorenge tours abroad and cooperates with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

One of the best known Romany singers from the younger generation is Radek Banga known as Gipsy who merges traditional Romany music with hip hop. In 2006 his band won an Angel award for Best Newcomer. In 2007 they performed at the Glastonbury festival, the first Czech band to get invited there.

A number of Romany singers got their break thanks to song contests. Vlasta Horváth won the Czech Superstar contest in 2005 and has since recorded four CDs. Monika Bagárová, one of the finalists in the Czecho-Slovak Super Star contest released her debut album in 2011. She’s into jazz, soul and r’n’b. Jan Bendig first got noticed when he won Academy Idol in Britain where he spend a few years with his family. In 2009 he was one of the finalists in Czecho-Slovak Superstar. He cooperated closely with Romany singer Vera Bilá who died a few weeks ago.

Related articles
31.10.2019Roma children’s choir Chavorenge and members of the Czech Philharmonic to perform in UKNews
02.06.2019Ida Kelarová and her Romany children’s choir ChavorengeNews
13.03.2019Czech singer Věra Bílá, dubbed the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music, dies days before her comeback tourNews
09.08.2016Philharmonic offers life chance to deprived Roma childrenNews
23.11.2014Singer Ida Kelarová finds inspiration in her Romany rootsNews
13.11.2014Singer Ida Kelarová: Getting my Romany children’s choir on stage in the Rudolfinum is a dream come trueNews
29.05.2012World Roma festival begins in PragueNews
27.05.2011Khamoro festival brings Roma music, culture to PragueNews
19.09.2010NewsNews – A phenomenal mix of hip hop, rap, r n’b and traditional gypsy musicNews
30.04.201012th World Roma Festival KhamoroNews
23.07.2009Czechs pull out of Eurovision after three years and “nul points”News
14.05.2009The eleventh year of the international Roma Khamoro festivalNews proud to represent Czech Republic and Roma minority at EurovisionNews
23.08.2008The popular Czech Roma band in South KoreaNews
30.05.2008Khamoro Festival celebrates 10th anniversary in PragueNews
25.05.2008World Roma festival Khamoro in PragueNews
13.05.2008Out of Home highlights problems of children’s homes, integration in Czech RepublicNews
26.11.2007Ukrainian “Gypsy punks” Gogol Bordello collaborate with rapper Gipsy.czNews
01.08.2007Hip-hop musician Gipsy appointed ambassador for minoritiesNews play Glastonbury FestivalNews
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan (India)Current images
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Ando Drom (Hungary)Current images
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Kale (Czech Republic)Current images
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Miro Ilo (Ukraine)Current images
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Shukar (Slovenia)Current images
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Louis Band (Serbia)Current images
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Ciganos d'Ouro (Portugal)Current images
02.06.2007Khamoro - Gala concert of traditional Roma music: Orkestar Strumica (Macedonia)Current images
01.06.2007Balkan, Indian rhythms collide at Khamoro World Roma FestivalNews
29.05.2007Khamoro Roma festival brings music and more to PragueNews
28.05.2007World Roma Festival Khamoro started with concert of Titi WintersteinCurrent images
12.03.2007Czechs send hard rockers Kabat to Eurovision semi-finalNews
26.01.2007Rapper Gipsy introduces traditional music on new albumNews
26.05.2006Khamoro - Romany musician Harri Stojka: "Roma in the Czech Republic need to integrate"News
14.09.2005Avant-garde musician Iva Bittova collaborates with New York's Bang on a CanNews
20.06.2005Vera Bila releases new album "c'est comme ca"News
30.05.2005Highlights of World Roma Festival KhamoroNews
25.05.2005"Khamoro" celebrates Gypsy art and music for the 7th timeNews
22.02.2005Romani rapper Gipsy - change comes from the streets, not the governmentNews
19.12.2004Encore: Zuzana Navarova - remembering an exceptional Czech musicianNews
16.12.2004Young rapper Gipsy using hip hop to "provoke all sides"News
08.12.2004Much respected singer-songwriter Zuzana Navarova dies at 45News
24.10.2004Encore: Ida Kelarova: a powerful voice for Roma cultureNews
18.09.2004The Week of European Gypsy Music at the Svanda Theatre in PragueCurrent images
02.06.2004A closer look at some of the issues from Khamoro 2004News
27.05.2004Khamoro hosts discussion on Roma traditions and their place in an ever-changing worldNews
25.05.2004World Roma Festival to address questions on Roma identity in the Czech Republic & the new EUNews
Vera Bila - singerCzech and Slovak Roma Personalities
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
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
24.11.17  Council of Europe commissioner welcomes Lety pig farm deal
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