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September 20, 2021



Overview of the online commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Romani movement already underway!

7.4.2021 13:13
(PHOTO:  Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
(PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

Celebrations of 8 April are being held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerts and discussions are being held online to mark 50 years since the first World Roma Congress in 1971.

The Czech Philharmonic will be performing a gala concert with Romani musician Ida Kelarová, while the Museum of Romani Culture is marking its own 30th anniversary. The day has been celebrated since 1990.  

The first international meeting of Romani representatives was held on 8 April 1971 near London. The first World Roma Congress laid the foundations for establishing the International Romani Union.

Participants from 14 countries, including the former Czechoslovakia, adopted the Romani anthem and flag, as well as the official designation of themselves with the term "Roma". Below is a summary of the events planned for the 50th anniversary.

ARA ART - three days of celebration

The celebration designed by the ARA ART organization includes three evenings of concerts. Today at 18:00 there will be a debate about Romani literature, followed by a concert of the group Lače Manuša with frontman Tibor Žida and singer Pavlína Matiová. Tomorrow (Thursday, 8 April) viewers can watch a cooking show featuring fashion designer Pavel Berky at 17:00, who has been a competitor on the Czech version of MasterChef. After that, accordeonist Mário Bihári will play and the actress Bára Hrzánová will perform. The three-day event will close on Friday with a concert by the Pefek Band. According to David Tišer, director of ARA ART, the number of members of the production team and the numebr of performers have had to be limited because of the strict safety measures in place.      

Czech Philharmonic and Ida Kelarová

The Czech Philharmonic's gala concert of classical music, jazz and Romani music will begin on Thursday, 8 April at 20:15. The La Fabrika venue in Prague will host the Czech Philharmonic, Romani musician Ida Kelarová, her band Jazz Famelija and her children's choir Čhavorenge, featuring musicians from the Czech Student Philharmonic and other Romani musicians. Public broadcaster Czech Television will broadcast the program live. 

Museum of Romani Culture

Beginning today, the Museum of Romani Culture is commemorating 30 years since its establishment. Its program will be held online as well, and it will be marking 8 April through a podcast. This second series of podcasts is subtitled "Velikáni jako spojující články" ("The Greats as Connecting Links"). The first episode of this new season of the podcasts is about a major milestone in the history of the Roma, the first World Roma Congress held on 8 April 1971, and asks questions about the relationship of that event to the present day. 

Days of Romani Culture - Savore Džene

Since yesterday the Days of Romani Culture held by the Brno-based community center Savore Džene have been running online. Several famous and less famous Romani figures have joined the celebrations through special appearances and recordings. 

Romano Lav 2021

On Thursday, 8 April the Romano Lav 2021 discussion will be held in the morning and will feature Senad Sakipovski of Macedonia; Karel Karika, the vice-mayor of Ustí nad Labem, Czech Republic; and Miroslav Klempar of Awen Amenca in the Czech Republic. Daniela Abraham will then reveal how she was invited to Buckingham Palace by the royal family. The conference will broadcast on Facebook and you can attend by registering

Celebrations in Slovakia

Many events are also happening online from Slovakia. The Institute of Romani Studies and the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, for example, is holding an online discussion about the forms of participation by Roma in public affairs in the past and present. The discussion will begin on 8 April at 15:00 on The Slovak Government Rapporteur for Romani Communiites, Andrea Bučková, will then discuss the history of the Roma at 17:00 as well as the current position of Romani people in Slovakia.  

Celebrations of 8 April elsewhere in Europe

The 50th anniversary of the first World Roma Congress on 8 April will be commemorated by day-long live broadcasts on the website. Viewers will be able to follow, for example, the Romaday Parade in Berlin, Germany, a documentary video about the location of the first World Roma Congress, unique video interviews with those how attended that first congress, and videos about the situation of Romani people in different European countries. The program will feature live music and will be broadcast from Berlin's Maxim Gorky Theater at 10 AM CET.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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