Legendary Romani musician Rudolf Bagár has passed away
On 24 January, the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno, Czech Republic posted to its official Facebook profile that the legendary musician Rudolf Bagár, a longtime collaborator of the museum, has passed away. "Today we received with great sorrow the news of the death of an extraordinary human being and legendary Romani musician, Rudolf 'Rudka' Bagár," the announcement read.
Mr Bagár is featured in the book Amendar, published by the museum, as one of the eminent Romani figures profiled there. As a schoolchild he used to perform in his family's band at parties and weddings; he mastered the viola, but as was the custom, like most Romani musicians he managed to play other instruments too, such as the accordion or double bass.
The family performed, for example, in a 1964 documentary capturing folk music produced by Slovak Television, "Zem spieva" ("The Earth Sings"). When Mr Bagár was 16 his family moved to Brno.
Along with his brothers Jan, Josef, Milan "Beňo" and his cousin, Gejza Horváth, he established the Bagár Family Band there. That ensemble successfully performed a modern repertoire all over Czechoslovakia.
In 1983 they moved to Prague, where they performed at the Prague Cultural Center together with violinist Jan Oračko. That group enjoyed great success with a folk repertoire, performing in hotels in Prague that were prestigious at the time (e.g., Hotel International, Hotel Panorama).
Mr Bagár was also a longtime collaborator with violinist Eugen "Janko" Horváth and was one of the best Romani musicians of the second half of the 20th century. The Bagár Family Band's performances were recorded, for example, in the 1977 film "Cikánské melodie života" ("The Gypsy Melody of Life") directed by Jan Fuksa.
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