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Roma youth build music school to bring people together in the Czech Republic

18.6.2020 8:07
Music instruction at the Gitano Drom school (2020). (PHOTO:  Lukáš Kočko)
Music instruction at the Gitano Drom school (2020). (PHOTO: Lukáš Kočko)

One year ago, the Gitano Drom music school project began its development in the Czech Republic. The school was established by David Kandráč, a student in the department of music at the Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava, and by the entrepreneur Lukáš Kočko.

"The aim of the project is to increase the level of education among Romani people and to connect them to the majority society through a love of art," Kandráč says. News server Romea.cz has interviewed him.

Q: What are you working on and what do you do in this school?

A: We want to guide both adults and children toward music as a profession and improve their futures. Music is a resource for opening up new opportunities. We offer a recording studio equipped with basic music instruments. We offer instruction in playing different instruments and in working with recording technology. We are doing our best to familiarize children with more than one area of music, not just with playing, but with composing and mixing music.

Q: How long have you been in operation?

A: In 2018 we came up with the plan to establish a community center around music in Valašské Meziříčí. Ladislav Čermák and Vladimír Kočko of the Movement of Romani Students in Ostrava gave us a lot of aid with establishing our association, which was registered on 30 May 2019. We are currently celebrating the first anniversary of our music school.

Q: What moved you to throw yourselves into this work?

A: The aim of our school is that Romani people manage to be visible and connected with the majority society through love of music. We are students of the Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava and we really love music.

Q: You need insturments and a premises to establish that kind of arts school. You're still students yourselves. Did you get any support for your efforts from the city?

A: During our first meeting with the Vice-Mayor of Valašské Meziříčí support was offered, and for that reason it was no problem to set up an office at the local authority there. It took us a long time to choose an appropriate premises for the school itself. It was important that the space fulfill various conditions, but eventually we got a hold of an appropriate one. We are buying the instruments gradually with our own finances. We welcome any financial support that would improve the school's conditions.

Q: Who attends your school and which instruments are you teaching?

A: Our school is attended by adults and children who are interested in music. Together we do our best to turn amateur musicians into high-quality performers. We teach many instruments - drums, percussion, bass guitar, electric guitar, piano, keyboards, clarinet, flute, saxophone and more.

Q: What are your plans for the school?

A: We are expanding the repertoires of our students so we can offer cultural programs for different types of social events. We are planning to write our own compositions, to record them, and to film the recording professionally so we can produce video clips. Naturally the students are able to collaborate with leading musicians from our music scene.

Q: Are you planning any performances with your pupils?

A: Summer is coming, which means the big festivals where Gitano Drom students will appear. We are also planning a music camp this summer where our pupils will perform. Next year we would like to organize the first International Romani Day ever in Valašské Meziříčí.

Q: Who is your music professional role model?

A: Our big role model is our great friend Tomáš Kačo, who graduated from the Berklee College of Music in America. It is our great honor to collaborate with him.

SB, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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artist, Culture, Education, Entertainment



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