Khamoro World Roma Festival coming to Plzeň for the first time!
This year the biggest Romani festival in the Czech Republic will bring sunshine not just to Prague, but to another city as well. For the first time ever, Khamoro will be hosted by the City of Plzeň from 26 – 28 June 2014.
Plzeň is slated to become the European Capital of Culture in 2015. The Khamoro festival in Plzeň intends to provide space for Romani artists from around the Czech Republic to perform.
There will be concerts, theater performances and a Street Battle Jam dance competition. The festival in Plzeň is being organized by the Slovo 21 civic association and Studio Production Saga in collaboration with ARA ART, o. s. and Ponton, o. s. of Plzeň.
Mayor of Plzeň Mgr. Martin Baxa has provided his auspices to the event. After the enormous success of the 16th annual Khamoro World Roma Festival in Prague, the production is now heading to the future 2015 European Capital of Culture.
Every year the European Union awards that title to one or more European cities which subsequently have the opportunity to present their cultural life and its development to the rest of Europe all year long. “The Khamoro festival is a colorful, energetic, joyous, lively celebration of freedom and tolerance as well as of music, which overcomes all borders and prejudices. The festival has an admirable tradition and many successful years behind it. I am glad that local organizations such as Ara Art and Ponton are involved in preparing the expansion of Khamoro to Plzeň, as that guarantees we are planting this tradition in fertile ground and there will be someone to look after our collaboration there even after 2015,” says Jiří Sulženko, the program director of Plzeň – European Capital of Culture 2015.
The three-day festival starts Thursday, 26 June 2014 with a theatrical performance for schools entitled Guľi daj (Sweet Mother). The play is a Romani version of Polednice (The Noonday Witch) from the Kytice (Bouquet of Folk Legends) collection of Karel Jaromír Erben and is primarily inspired by real life and the anti-Romani disasters that have been taking place in the Czech Republic.
“We have made the legend contemporary. We are doing our best to respond to the societal mood and events both in the Czech Republic and Slovakia,” says the director of the ARA ART theater ensemble, David Tišer.
Thursday’s program will continue with an open air concert by KlaJazzRom, which brings together classical, jazz and traditional Romani music, as their name suggests. Young Romani performers, most of them from the Plzeň area, who have graduated from or are studying at conservatories and music academies will be featured.
KlaJazzRom breaks down ingrained stereotypes and shows that there are educated, top-notch artists in the Romani community who have a feeling and vision not only for Romani music, but also for styles such as classical music and jazz. Friday will then be devoted to dance.
The Street Battle Jam project is an event focusing on the lovers of the modern street dance style. The contest is held by Plzeň’s Ponton organization and is intended for amateurs, children and youth from socially excluded localities, including from the majority population.
The arts of dance and competitiveness will be displayed by individuals competing two at a time on the dance floor. The last day of the festival will then offer a whole constellation of events.
Visitors can expect open air concerts of traditional Romani music that will definitely get their blood going. “Everything will take place in the pedestrian zone of Plzeň, known to locals as ‘U Branky’. The purpose is to bring people who live next door to one another together, to make their coexistence pleasant, and last but not least, to show the richness of Romani art and culture,” says Jelena Silajdžić, the producer of the Khamoro festival and Executive Director of Slovo 21.
Audiences will be set in motion by the bands Devles from Prague, Le Čhavendar from Rokycany, and the main attraction, Terne Čhave from Hradec Králové. What's more, they can also look forward to performances by the Lord Angeles and Khamoro Plzňatar dance ensembles from Plzeň.
The Khamoro festival in Prague presents the best Romani bands from all over the world every year in Prague, and Khamoro 2014 in Plzeň will focus on Romani artists from around the Czech Republic. While Khamoro in Plzeň will be held on a smaller scale than the festival in the capital, it will definitely be worth it!
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