Czech Republic: Museum of Romani Culture to commemorate ROMFEST 1990 and award its own 2016 prize
The Museum of Romani Culture in Brno invites the public to its commemorative evening dedicated to a key event in Romani culture, the ROMFEST 1990 festival, which was held 26 years ago. "We want to remind people of this event through an evening of musical witness for the public at large, an event that will take place on 24 November at 18:00 at the KS Omega - Musilka cultural center in Brno-Husovice," Sabina Coufalová of the Museum of Romani Culture told news server Romea.cz.
ROMFEST 1990 - An evening of musical witness
24. 11., 18:00
KS Omega - Musilka
Musilka 2a, Brno
Entry free of charge
For more information, please see the Facebook event
Along with musical guest performers and those who attended the original event, visitors will be able to go behind the scenes of the unique festival that introduced the international Romani music scene to audiences in what was then still Czechoslovakia for the first time ever in history. The Museum of Romani Culture's Prize for 2016 will also be awarded during the evening.
The event will be free of charge and will be led by Gejza Horváth, who witnessed ROMFEST 1990, and the director of the Museum of Romani Culture, Jana Horváthová. "We will recreate the atmosphere of the first ROMFEST for our audience through the bands that performed there in 1990, such as the cembalom (hammered dulcimer) music of the Horváthovec group, the Lázok brothers, Gejza Horváth, and other guest performers. The musical tradition of Romani people from Rokycany will be presented by the band Le Čhavendar. We will also commemorate the course of the original festival by screening archival photographs and clips of films that were made during the first ROMFEST," dramaturg Matyáš Dlab said.
The first World Romani Festival ROMFEST 1990 was held over the course of three days from 27-29 July 1990 in the Mariánské údolí area of Brno-Líšeň. The production was overseen by the ROMART organization.
Dozens of dance ensembles and musical groups gathered there for a musical marathon on four stages and various spontaneous performances. The event was not, however, just a music festival, but a politically significant cultural and social occasion.
Tomorrow's gala evening, therefore, will also remember the legacy of Václav Havel, who also attended ROMFEST 1990 and expressed his support for Romani people with these words: "The totalitarian system, which reigned in our country for the last 40 years, behaved in its own peculiar way with respect to Romani people. Behind a facade of lofty speeches, the system concealed its contempt, its incomprehension, and its indifference, as evidenced by various insensitive administrative measures and by the suppression of Romani culture, language and anything specific to the Romani nationality... . Romani people, just like anybody else, have a right to their own national self-awareness and to respect for their ethnic identity."
Director Jana Horváthová will personally award the Museum of Romani Culture Prize tomorrow evening. This award is an annual appreciation of a living figure who has contributed to the development, preservation and promotion of Romani culture through his or her work, as well as to the operations of the Museum of Romani Culture.
The Museum of Romani Culture is the only institution in Europe that documents the culture of Romani people. Its unique collection of artworks, crafts, photographs and textiles is not just preserved in depositories, but also presented to the public in a permanent exhibition called "The Story of Romani People".
The exhibits are augmented through audiovisual projections and life-sized dioramas. The museum also offers the public lectures and workshops, as well as working with children from socially disadvantaged families.
The Museum of Romani Culture was established in 1991. In the year 2005 it became an official organization to which the Czech Culture Ministry contributes financially.
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