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February 24, 2018
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Czech Philharmonic joins Romani musician Ida Kelarová and Čhavorenge choir for tour of Šluknov foothills

9.8.2016 12:09
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)

The "Romano drom" summer school for selected, talented Romani children from socially excluded localities is being held this year in the Šluknov foothills of the Czech Republic. A total of 60 Romani children from the Czech Republic and Slovakia will experience two inspiring weeks full of dance and music under the direction of Ida Kelarová, her artistic team, and musicians from the Czech Philharmonic.

Kelarová has designed the summer school in collaboration with the artistic and organizational team of her nonprofit organization, MIRET, z. s., and the Czech Philharmonic. The concerts, which will include local non-Romani children together with Kelarová, her artistic team, members of the Czech Philharmonic and the Čhavorenge Romani children's choir,  will take place as follows:

9 August - Nový Bor (at the outdoor cinema)
10 August - Rumburk (Lužické Square)
11 August - Děčín (Chateau Gardens

The summer school is designed for selected, talented Romani children aged 12-18 from socially vulnerable families living in excluded localities, ghettos and Romani settlements in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The children participating in the summer school this year were chosen from all over the Czech Republic and Slovakia during auditions in March and April.

The children staying at the summer camp in Jiřetín pod Jedlovou come from Bratislava, Hradec Králové, Košice, Liptovský Mikuláš, Lučenec, Náchod, Prague, Vsetín and Žilina. "The children are working very hard - as Roma, they must work twice as hard as non-Roma. We teach them that as Roma they can be appreciated by society and what's more, they can be accepted by society. They are acquiring self-confidence that is important to their personal growth. At the same time, they motivate the other children who are their peers. We want these children to find the role models they lack. Čhavorenge provides such role models," Kelarová said.

The children's stay is being fully covered by MIRET and by an Erasmus+ grant. The project was also financially supported by the Embassy of the United States of America in Prague.

The children and youth participating have the opportunity to meet with both non-Romani and Romani experts from various fields. The summer school includes specialized workshops focused on Romani cultural traditions, history, and problems of everyday life today.

The children will sing as a choir under the direction of Ida Kelarová and will study traditional Romani dance with Ota Bunda and Libuška Bachratá. They will be taught a great deal about Romani history and traditions by Michal Mižigár and will get to know more about Romani culture, their own identity, and their roots.

Many other educational activities are also part of the summer camp. Courses in English will be provided by an American singer living Slovakia who is also an experienced lecturer, Jody Winchester.

Thanks to Martin Fogo Halász, the founder of the Academia Universum in Bratislava, the children will also learn the art of capoiera. They will attend theater workshops with Anna Petrželková and Tomáš David, play experiential-educational games under the direction of Dan Pokorný and Júlie Šimek, attend yoga classes with Hanka Koníčková, learn to work with their breathing and expand their knowledge in many other areas.

The Czech Philharmonic is aware of the absolutely exceptional nature of the project and its significance, and their musicians will accompany the Romani children's choir Čhavorenge during the concerts and will design playful music workshops for the children. This is the third time the Czech Philharmonic has joined the project.

The main component of the concert program will be contemporary Romani compositions, beautiful songs composed for the children by Desiderius Dužda, one of the leading contemporary Romani composers, and arranged by Martin Hybler. "We greatly appreciate our collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic, which is an enormous gift. We respect that they are opening up their world for our children, and we feel even more responsibility to be prepared, together with the children, for this once-in-a-lifetime challenge and test," Kelarová said.  

adg, press release of Romano drom summer school, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Čhavorenge, Česká filharmonie, Děti, actions, Ida Kelarová, Culture, letní umělecká škola, Talent, Zpěv


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