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Czech Republic: Khamoro Festival starts today in Prague

24.5.2015 18:42
The parade of Khamoro performers through the center of Prague in 2014. (Photo:   Jitka Votavová
The parade of Khamoro performers through the center of Prague in 2014. (Photo: Jitka Votavová

The best Romani artists from all over the world are now heading to Prague and then to Plzeň. Today is the first day of the 17th annual Khamoro Festival, which is the best-known, biggest Romani festival in the world.

The festival offers audiences traditional Romani music, Gypsy Jazz, classical music, and hip hop. Many other artistic events round out the musical program.

Khamoro lasts from 24 - 30 May 2015 and is a seven-day marathon of Romani culture. Everything begins on Sunday at 20:00 with a party on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague and the band Terne Čhave from Hradec Králové, together with Jan Bendig, followed by an experimental combination of traditional Romani music with hip hop in a performance by the Romani singer Mário Bihári together with the rapper Vladimir 518.  

During the week audiences can look forward to many illustrious names from the Romani music scene. There will be a concert by Gypsy Jazz and swing guitarists Angelo Debarre & Marius Apostol from France, by the Serbian hiphop artist Roma Sijam, by the legendary band Mahala Rai Banda from Romania, and a performance by the homegrown Romani band Věra Bílá a Kale.

In Plzeň the festival will take place from 26 - 28 May, and audiences there will have a chance to see these renowned Romani artists live there as well. The Khamoro Festival is not just about music, though.  

The program includes the children's day Khamororo, a colorful parade through the center of Prague, exhibitions, our first Street Battle Jam dance competition, Romani story-telling and workshops. There will also be a discussion by experts from all over Europe debating, among other things, how Romani culture might contribute to improving the position of Romani people in Europe.  

A "Mini-Summer School of Romani Culture" will also take place during the festival, as will the "Khamoro Shares Experience" program and the Czech Romani Youth Meeting. The program will also be attended by children residing in children's homes in the Czech Republic as part of the "Khamoro Kher" project.

Plzeň will also be presenting an entertaining community program, and audiences there will be able to taste the 650 kilogram "Mandala" cake. That event will be part of a performance by the Romani multimedia artist Zoran Tairović of Serbia, who will attempt to demonstrate what a complicated labyrinth the "Romani Person" must pass through in order to taste at least a little bit of a dignified life.  

The Khamoro Festival began in 1999 with the aim of presenting Romani culture to the broader public. The organizers of the event are the Slovo 21, z.s., organization and Studio Production Saga.  

Hits of past festivals have included The Zuralia Orchestra from Romania, which combines Romani folklore and traditional Romani music with jazz, Latin, Oriental and reggae music, various jazz concerts, and the traditional parade by the bands through the Prague city center. The festival is supported by the City of Prague and is being held under the auspices of Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman, and the Mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová.

Plzeň is the European Capital of Culture for 2015. The Khamoro Festival will take place there for the second year in a row.


Sunday 24. 5. 2015
20:00 Náplavka – Khamoro Party on the Vltava:  Terne Čhave & Jan Bendig/CZ, Mário Bihári & Vladimir 518/CZ

Monday 25. 5. 2015
19:00 Rock Café – Concert in memory of Romani musician Jožka Fečo
21:00 Jazz Dock – Gypsy Jazz concert: Swing de Gitanes /ISR

Tuesday 26. 5. 2015
17:00 Czech Center Prague – Opening of the exhibition "Vanished World of the Roma - Lety u Písku"
19:00 Czech Museum of Music – Concert of classical and jazz music "Black and White World" /SRB/CZ
21:00 Lucerna Music Bar – Gypsy Jazz concert: Angelo Debarre & Marius Apostol – Gipsy Unity /FR

Wednesday 27. 5. 2015
16:00 Zahrádky Žižkov – Romani story-telling: "A Different Past and Present"
17:00 Dům národnostních menšin/National Minorities House – Opening of an exhibition by Iveta Horváthová:  Dual Personality (Dvojí osobnost)
21:00 Lucerna Music Bar – Hip Hop concert: Vladimir 518 & Refew & Mike Trafik/CZ , Roma Sijam /SRB, UGC/CZ, FunkyBrothers/CZ, Cincinaty/CZ

Thursday 28. 5. 2015
14:00 Na Příkopě – Dancing and singing workshops
16:00 Church of St. Václav, Smíchov – Romani story-telling: "A Different Past and Present"
19:00 ROXY – concert of traditional Romani music: Tamburitza of Danube/SRB, Flamenco Aire Quintero/ES, Šukar/SI, RomaNeno/BG

Friday 29. 5. 2015
9:00 Hungarian Cultural Center/Maďarské kulturní středisko – International Seminar: Romani Culture in Different Social Contexts
12:00 Wenceslas Square – Performers' parade through the center of Prague
15:00 Portheimka Park – Children's Day
19:00 ROXY – concert of traditional Romani music:  Věra Bílá & Kale/CZ, Ilo/RU, Mahala Rai Banda/RO

Saturday 30. 5. 2015
9:30 Podnik – Street Battle Jam dance competition
20:00 SaSaZu – Final Gala Concert:  Tamburitza of Danube /SRB, Flamenco Aire Quintero/ES, Šukar/SI, Romaneno/BG, Věra Bílá & Kale/CZ, Ilo/RU, Mahala Rai Banda/RO, Jan Bendig /CZ/
press release of Slovo 21, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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