Romani singer Věra Bílá, doing her best to make a comeback, performs in Prague
After a hiatus of several years, the Romani singer Věra Bílá turned up on stage once more yesterday, performing in Prague at the Balbínova poetická hospůdka. Bílá, who has been grappling with financial problems recently, let it be known that she is planing more concerts now. Today she admitted she had put her singing on the back burner for the past seven years because of her husband's illness, among other things. "Even though people know who I am and have not forgotten about me, I'm still just a completely ordinary woman for whom health is the most important thing," the singer said.
The singer wore a long black dress for yesterday's concert and was accompanied by three musicians. She pleased her fans with both rhythmic and slower songs led by her strong, full and sometimes husky voice. She made jokes between numbers and engaged in lively banter with the audience.
This extraordinary Romani singer became famous both at home and abroad for her performances with the group Kale. In 2005 she parted ways with them over disagreements. The main reason was allegedly her lack of reliability.
Kale put out four albums with Bílá. Their debut, "Rom Pop", came out in 1996 and enjoyed particular success in France. Promoters in many countries were very interested in booking them. The next album, "Kale kaloré" (which in translation means something like "The Black Blackies") came out two years later, followed by the albums "Rovava" ("I'm Gonna Cry") in 2001 and "C'est Comme Ca".
With a few exceptions, Bílá has not performed for some time. She is battling illnesses and taking care of her husband, who is also ill. She also had a problem with a gambling addiction and owed back rent on her apartment in Rokycany, from which the town hall wanted to evict her.
"I have finally said goodbye to gambling. My husband, my love, is dying, you know? Life is destroying me right now, but it hasn't broken me yet. I am returning to music, to what gives me strength and money so I can take good care of my beloved František," Bílá told the daily tabloid Blesk.
Bílá also discussed the threat that she might be evicted into a "holobyt" [Translator's Note: The lowest-quality kind of housing still zoned for residency in the Czech Republic]. "I don't have the money to buy a place like everyone else in the building has. I don't have the CZK 48 000. I asked them to wait but they don't want to. I'm really sorry, but Rokycany is treating me too harshly, I've lived there my entire life," Bílá said. The town has offered to exchange her 1+1 apartment for a one-room studio nearby. "It's a holobyt, no hot water or heat. I can't live there with František, the doctors expressly forbade it. So I'm going to court, and mainly I am putting a band together again. I need a real tour to make money. I have a manager already who takes care of other singers too," Bílá said with pride. "I keep singing here and there, but the money I make is either nothing or just enough to buy some flour. I need CZK 5 200 to pay my rent now. The landlord won't wait until František's pension comes.“
Věra Bílá was born on 22 May 1954 in Rokycany into the musical Giňa family. At the age of 15 she began living with her husband František. After 10 years of marriage they adopted their son, František. She started her singing career performing at family celebrations, weddings and parties with the cimbalom (concert hammered dulcimer) music of her father, Karol Giňa.
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