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June 21, 2019
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Romani musician Ida Kelarová to present young Romani musicians she has coached in concert Friday with the Czech Philharmonic

27.6.2017 7:21
Ida Kelarová and the Čhavorenge children's choir performed with accompaniment by the Czech Philharmonic in Romani settlements in Slovakia from 6-8 August 2014. (Photo:  Czech Philharmonic)
Ida Kelarová and the Čhavorenge children's choir performed with accompaniment by the Czech Philharmonic in Romani settlements in Slovakia from 6-8 August 2014. (Photo: Czech Philharmonic)

This Friday, 30 June, at 19:00 the Great Hall at the Museum in Chrudim, Czech Republic, will resound with a grand concert performance by the Czech Philharmonic and 120 Romani children under the direction of the Romani musician Ida Kelarová. On Saturday, 1 July, the children will perform in the Social Hall of the M-KLUB in the town of Vysoké Mýto.

These two exceptional concerts, which the Romani children have been rehearsing for since last October, are the culmination of this year's project by the Czech Philharmonic and Kelarová. The professional musicians have been supporting gifted children and young adults from socially excluded localities in this way for the past several years.

"Many people want to aid the Roma, but they give up once the first difficulties arise. I am happy that the Czech Philharmonic has been accompanying us along the thorny path of education for several years now, and I am aware that the road to mutual comprehension may last a few more generations - to say nothing of the fact that it is actually a trip without end," Kelarová said.

Last year children from the Chrudim district joined the movement and music activities of the project for the first time. "Implementing this project makes it possible for children from socially excluded localities to experience success, very often for the first time in their lives, and to learn something new. This work involves removing them from their everyday environment and causes many other changes not just in the lives of the children, but also of their parents," explains Sophia Dvořáková, director of the "Your Chance" organization (Šance pro Tebe).

A chance for children from excluded localities

"Your Chance" has been dedicated to social work in excluded localities in the Chrudim district for many years, and its staffers aided Kelarová with bringing the project to the area. As many as 80 children from Chrasti, Chrudim, Čankovice, Heřmanův Městec, Hrochova Týnec, Obořice and Prachovice joined regular music-making in the form of weekly choir rehearsals and movement and music workshops.

The Pardubice Regional Authority financed the children's commutes to Luže u Košumberka, where the entire choral ensemble assembled. "Socially excluded localities are frequently inaccessible places and therefore it is very complicated to arrange transportation to regular rehearsals. In the broader context, however, this aids the children and young adults with experiencing something positive, reducing their social barriers, and setting regular schedules," said Dvořáková.

Who is Ida Kelarová?

Ida Kelarová is the daughter of a Moravian man and a Romani woman. She has a God-given gift for music and is a brilliant teacher who does not follow a set curriculum, but whose work with adult and child vocalists goes straight to the point.

Ms Kelarová's directness and vigor may be startling, but nobody ever doubts that she knows exactly what it means to "sing from the soul". She studied piano and violoncello at the Janáček Conservatory in Brno, and her sister is the renowned avant-garde singer Iva Bittová.

Ms Kelarová has lived in Denmark, Great Britain, and Norway, where she has gained experience and knowledge that she has been applying to her work in the Czech Republic since 1996. She is open to inspiration from her East European and Romani ancestors and roots and has based her entire oeuvre and work on such sources.

Tickets to Friday's concert cost CZK 80 [EUR 3] and can be bought online or at the Information Center in Chrudim. The project is supported by Creative Europe EU.

A full interview with Ms Kelarová can be read in the Šance pro Tebe bulletin (Czech only). For further information about her work with Romani children, visit the website of the MIRET association, www.miret.cz.

Adéla Gálová, Jitka Votavová, press release of Šance pro tebe, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Concert, Culture, Děti, Ida Kelarová



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