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Czech Radio marks International Romani Language Day by premiering radio drama based on a Romani fairytale

8.11.2016 9:57
Recording of the Romani fairy tale
Recording of the Romani fairy tale "About the clever (but deceitful) thief Bajcúr", which was broadcast to mark International Romani Language Day on 5 November 2016 in the Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Czech Radio)

Czech Radio's "Vltava" station, which focuses on culture, broadcast a segment dedicated to the Romani language and literature on 5 November at 9 AM as part of its "Weekend Edition" program. At 10 AM the station broadcast the premiere of a dramatized reading of the Romani fairytale "About the clever (but deceitful) thief Bajcúr".

The segments drew attention to the fact that 5 November is the International Day of the Romani Language. The radio performance of the fairytale was created based on the fairytale of the same name from a book by Gejza Demeter called Ráj na zemi (Paradise on Earth) which was published in 2011 by the Triáda publishing house.

The story was adapted for radio by the dramaturg of the New Formats Group at the radio station, Kristina Žantovská. Guests of the program included experts in Romani language and literature as well as the writers of new fairy tales, who discussed how Romani folk tales are created and much more as part of a segment called "The Eighth Case and Aspirated Consonants".

The origin of words in Czech that come from the Romani language was explained by Romani Studies scholar Michal Mižigár, while Romani Studies scholar and translator Karolína Ryvolová focused on the motifs and source material of the Romani fairy tale tadition, radio drama director Michal Bureš discussed how new fairy tales are created, and Patrik Banga, who voiced the main role, talked about his impressions of the recording session. The producer of the Romani-themed segments, editor Tomáš Černý, also included recordings of archived radio programs from the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s that were prepared by the founder of Romani Studies in the former Czechoslovakia, Milena Hübschmannová (1933–2005), together with her husband, the radio director Josef Melč (1934–2002).

The main role of Bajcúr in the newly-recorded fairy tale was performed by Patrik Banga, an editor at who is also a musician and co-founder of the band The fairy tale was translated into Czech from Romanes by Zbyněk Andrš, and the poetic elements were translated by Eva Danišová.

The author of the music used in the recording is Josef Šenki (Trio Josefa Šenkiho). The lyricist for the songs included is Petr Kotouš.

Radio actors appearing in the supporting roles include Jakub Folvarčný, Zdeněk Junák, Michal Bumbálek, Simona Peková, Jana Horváthová, Dalibor Buš, Drahomíra Hofmanová, Barbora Bagarová, Marie, Milan and František Balogovi, Vladimír Hauser, Ondřej Jiráček, Margita Lázoková, Jan Rosenberg, Hana Tulejová, Renata Tulejová and Igor Bareš. The fairy tale was recorded in the Brno studios of Radio Vltava in collaboration with the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno.

Gejza Demeter (1947–2015) wrote his collection of 10 Romani fairy tales to honor his grandfather, a blacksmith and storyteller from a Romani settlement in Dlhé nad Cirochou not far from Humenné in what is today Slovakia. The stories are anchored in a world of rural Romani people and speak to readers today primarily through their sense of humor, their unconventionality, the ease of the storytelling and their dramatic plot developments.


jal, ryz, Český rozhlas, stanice Vltava, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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