KHAMORO: Annual parade of Romani performers marches through the center of Prague
This year the 17th annual Khamoro Festival parade of colorfully-dressed Romani dancers, musicians, and singers made its way through the center of Prague accompanied by live music. The annual festival began last Sunday on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague and culminated last night with a gala concert of many Romani performers.
The parade traditionally involves a horsedrawn carriage, beginning at noon on Wenceslas Square and ending on the Old Town Square. It is always a unique opportunity to hear and see all of the festival performers at the same time and place; the parade of Roma in national costume first set out on annual its pilgrimage through the capital in 2001 and thousands of people turn out for it every year.
DUring the parade, which made stops on Ovocný trh and in Celetná Street, a broad range of musical genres was heard, from Balkan brass bands to the songs of Russian Roma to Spanish guitars and the rhythms of flamenco. The performances were viewed by crowds of people, especially tourists, many of whom photographed the performers using their mobile phones or tablets.
As many as 300 dancers and musicians joined the parade. On 29 May the festival program also included a seminar about Romani culture, a children's day, and a concert of traditional music at the Roxy club.
Last night's gala concert at the SaSaZu club in Prague featured Věra Bílá, Ilo, Mahala Rai Banda, Tamburitza of Danube, Flamenco Aire Quintero, Šukar and Romaneno. Singer Jan Bendig was the opening guest artist.
This year a hip hop concert was part of the Khamoror World Roma Festival for the first time. On Wednesday, at the Lucerna Music Bar in Prague, the rappers Vladimir 518, Mike Trafik, and Refew performed, as did a group of young Roma from Serbia, Roma Sijam, who recently won a talent competition in their home country.
The festival included many other concerts of various genres of music, such as classical music, Gypsy Jazz, and traditional Romani music. This year the festival is also taking place in the city of Plzeň for the second year in a row, this time as a component of the activities of the European Capital of Culture 2015.
This was the first year that festival events were run simultaneously in both cities. The Plzeň festival ran from 26 -28 May.
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