Czech Republic: KHAMORO parade of performers takes to the streets of Prague
The world's biggest festival of Romani music, KHAMORO, is underway in Prague this week. Yesterday at high noon a great procession of performers and friendly members of the public set out from Wenceslas Square as part of the defilé parade, which is one of the best-loved parts of the festival.
The defilé traditionally proceeds to the Old Town Square every year, and this was the 19th year it has featured Romani dancers and musicians from all over the world. Romani people wearing different traditional Romani costumes participated, as did ordinary onlookers who were captivated by the Romani-themed procession.
"The parade featured 300 performers from all over the world and was seen by 2 000 bystanders," festival spokesperson Soňa Kalejová told news server Romea.cz. "People's reactions were very favorable, because this event allows them to see Romani people in a different light than usual."
The parade proceeded down Na Příkopě Street to Ovocný trh, where it was joined by decorated horse-drawn Romani wagons. The performers then proceeded down Celetná Street to the Old Town Square.
Individual ensembles dispersed around the square and performed for clusters of local passers-by and tourists. Flag-bearers also carried the international Romani flag at the head of the parade.
"This is the first time I have attended the KHAMORO Festival and I was very surprised by how friendly everybody is toward the Romani participants. I am most looking forward to tomorrow's gala concert. I would like to attend this festival in the future," high school student Roman Lakatoš, who was in Prague to participate in the "Baruvas" gathering, told news server Romea.cz.
The festival program continued yesterday in the Jerusalem Synagogue with a concert of classical music based on Romani motifs. That was followed by a concert of traditional Romani music in the Palác Akropolis club featuring bands from Macedonia, Romania and Russia.
The week-long review culminates today in the gala concert at 20:00 in the SaSaZu club, where Romani brass bands from the Balkans and cembalom ensembles will perform. You can find the full program at www.khamoro.cz.
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