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October 25, 2021



Czech Philharmonic will continue collaboration with Romani musician Ida Kelarová

20.3.2018 16:03
Romani musician Ida Kelarová, Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Miret, z.s.)
Romani musician Ida Kelarová, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Miret, z.s.)

Ida Kelarová, the choir director and jazz singer, tells the Czech News Agency in an interview that the recent recording of the Romani children's choir Čhavorenge is both the high point and just the beginning of the choir's further collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic, which was initiated through their joint summer arts school. "It can be considered that new opportunities will open up with this CD. We may even get invited abroad," she said.

That wish is already coming true - her summer arts school, Romano drom (The Romani Way) will happen this year in Romania, where children from the choir will meet communities there and get to know their culture. In the autumn a tour is planned in Slovakia and concerts in Austria and Belfast are also under negotiation.

The collaboration between the Czech Philharmonic and the choir has lasted five years. It includes almost 40 concerts in Prague's Rudolfinum and in other locations throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia, including a performance during an outdoor concert of the Czech Philharmonic on Hradčanské náměstí in Prague under the direction of Jiří Bělohlávek.

The life stories of dozens of Romani children and youth have been influenced by this collaboration. "This is a demanding project, but one somehow kicks one's way through to the final outcome and gets new strength to continue. We are not considering closing the project," the choir director said.

The CD features the choir of talented children from socially excluded Romani localities and the Czech Philharmonic under the direction of Marek Ivanović performing 12 vocal compositions predominantly written by contemporary Romani composer Desiderius Dužda. Traditional Romani folk songs are included as well.

"Unfortunately, Mr Bělohlávek is no longer with us, but during the recording I felt his presence," Kelarová said. The release of the CD will be accompanied by two concerts of the choir and Czech Philharmonic musicians.

The first concert will take place on 26 March at the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav and the next, at which the CD will be launched, will be on 27 March at Švandovo divadlo in Prague. The godmothers of the CD will be the director Alice Nellis and the actress Martha Issová.

This May the choir awaits its return to the Šluknov district and its collaboration with local young non-Romani singers for concerts in the towns of Rumbork and Varnsdorf. The pitfalls and the successes achieved by the dozens of Romani children in the choir in their efforts to move away from the socially excluded localities are captured by the documentary film by the director Tomáš Kudrna, "O čo ide Idě" ("Ida's Mission").

The film was made during the summer of 2015 in eastern Slovakia during the summer arts school there and captures the collaboration between the choir and the Philharmonic and life in the impoverished settlements. "The children's choir Čhavorenge is an environment that motivates the children not to abandon their dreams and to go for fulfilling the story of their lives," Kelarová says.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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