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Czech Republic: Amaro Records recording studio opens in Brno

8.4.2016 15:31
Katarína Klamková, director of IQ Roma servis (in red), opened the Amaro Records recording studio in Brno on 7 April 2016. (PHOTO: František Bikár,
Katarína Klamková, director of IQ Roma servis (in red), opened the Amaro Records recording studio in Brno on 7 April 2016. (PHOTO: František Bikár,

Yesterday the IQ Roma servis (IQRS) nonprofit organization opened the Amaro Records recording studio in the site of a former gambling parlor located in between the "Romani ghetto" and the "normal" city center of Brno. "We were inspired by Barcelona, where a similar recording studio serves foreign nationals and migrants, but our studio is for anyone and everyone," Katarína Klamková, director of IQ Roma servis, explained to the Czech daily Mladá front DNES.

The idea to create a recording studio was conceived over several years. Gejza Horváth, an experienced, famous Romani musician in the Czech Republic convinced IQ Roma servis more than eight years ago to open a professional musical circle that would target beginning Romani musicians, providing them with direction and support.

His practical experience has demonstrated that such a professional musical circle provides a comprehensive benefit to its members and enjoys high attendance and interest. In 2014 the organization had to rapidly decide whether to go into the project of building a studio or not.

The Faculty of Social Sciences at Masaryk University in Brno approached the NGO with the offer as a result of participating in an international research project focused on youth called "City Space". As part of their research, the university was able to release CZK 130 000 (EUR 4 800) for the "practical" part, and after reaching an agreement with IQRS decided to use the funds to equip the recording studio.

The NGO then managed to convince the Brno-Střed Municipal Department to provide the appropriate space for the studio for the symbolic rent of one Czech crown. "Several things came together at the same time. For six years we have been running the musicians' circle, which is led by the excellent Romani musician Gejza Horváth. We have talented young people who want to dedicate themselves to music and could never access a regular commercial recording studio," Lenka Maléřová, Deputy Director of Finance and Projects at IQRS, told news server last year.

The Milada Horáková Street venue was originally a gambling parlor. "The gaming room was so typical - it was stickered over like crazy. Basically there were enormous windows with natural light there that were completely covered up. We took that all off because we wanted to find out what was underneath. The planner told us it was all a bit tangled up, so we tested to see what was underneath and how complicated it would be," Klamková said in an interview for the Czech station Radio Wave on 10 February 2015.

Almost 50 Romani community members were involved in the reconstruction. In addition to the private donors who have supported the studio, famous figures such as the Czech rock musician and former Human Rights Minister Michael Kocáb and the Romani musician Mário Bihári have given it their auspices.

The recording studio anticipates opening a cafe over time. The entire endeavor is supposed to run on the basis of social entrepreneurship. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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