Věra Bílá, legendary singer from the Romani community, has passed away in the Czech Republic
A family member of the vocalist Věra Bílá has confirmed to news server Romea.cz that she has passed away. She is said to have fought for her life for some time after being hospitalized on Monday evening.
News server Romea.cz has been informed that the singer died of a heart attack. "On Monday 11 March, in the late night hours, a 64-year-old female patient was brought to us for urgent intake. She was in a critical state of health. Despite immediately resuscitating her, the doctors did not manage to renew her independent vital functions and the patient died," hospital spokesperson Gabriela Levorová told the Czech News Agency.
The performer was scheduled to return to the stage this coming Friday to begin a comeback concert with fellow Romani musicians Jan Bendig and Milan Kroka. During her career she sold out L'Olympia in Paris and sang for US President Bill Clinton in the White House.
Jan Bendig: My heart is weeping...
"My heart is weeping... I can't find the right words," Bendig posted to Facebook.
"A great figure with a even bigger heart and unforgettable voice has left us. She really did a great deal for Romani music and for us Roma. Please, if you can, spend a quiet moment remembering Věra today," Bendig posted.
"I am so sorry! I can't find the right words. I'm still in enormous shock. You were and always will be a great legend of music who really did a great deal for Romani music," producer Lukáš Rejmon, who was also designing the singer's comeback to the musical stage, posted to social networks.
"Věra, I am very sorry, I am so glad I was able to share a stage with you, to perform with you, I appreciate it so much. May the eternal light shine on you. Your compositions will remain for the ages, Vero amari," the musician Ladislav Bílý posted to Facebook.
"This is an enormous loss for the music scene," the singer Radek Banga said. "May the earth rest lightly upon her, may the Lord God in his mercy receive her in his home. We will remember you, Věra, your songs and your amazing voice."
"Through her unique artistry and energy she charmed crowds of people irrespective of their nationality or origin. With lightness, naturalness, and tremendous success she conquered the stages of the world in a way that many celebrities can only dream of. Through her music she brought apparently incompatible worlds together," posted the ARA ART organization to its Facebook profile.
Music critic Jiří Černý: Věra Bílá was one of the Czech Republic's biggest talents
"This was one of the biggest talents in our country, and I do not mean just among Romani musicians, but in general. She had an enormous career underway, managed by Jiří Smetana, but unfortunately she did not take much interest in it. She had all the prerequisites for it with the exception of some terribly important aspects - diligence and reliability," the music critic Jiří Černý described the performer to the Czech News Agency.
Zlata Holušová, the director of the Colours of Ostrava arts festival, called the vocalist's death a great loss to the Czech domestic music scene. "She was a breathtaking, unmanageable singer who was one of the Czech Republic's most successful performers ever, she sold out concert halls worldwide, including L'Olympia in Paris. We never managed to book her for Colours and I will always regret that," the director said.
Věra Bílá was famous both at home and abroad
Věra Bílá was born on 22 May 1954 in Rokycany into the Giňa family of Romani musicians. At the age of 15 she began living with her husband, František, with whom she adopted a son 10 years later.
The singer began her career performing at family celebrations, weddings, and parties accompanied by her father, Karol Giňa, on cimbalom. By the turn of the millennium she was the Czech Republic's best-known female singer worldwide.
She became famous both at home and abroad, first and foremost by performing with the band Kale. They put out four albums together.
Their debut record, Rom Pop, came out in 1996, and the musicians enjoyed success with it in France especially, but producers in many other countries were also greatly interested in their live concerts. In 2005 the singer broke up with the other musicians because of disagreements.
The tragic deaths of her beloved son and her husband then had an enormous impact on her life. Documentarists Roman Šantúr and David Vondráček describe those dramatic events over the course of two years in their film, "The Last Hope of Věra Bílá" (Poslední naděje Věry Bílé).
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