17th year of the International Roma Festival Khamoro is culminating today by the closing galaconcert in SaSaZu!
You can be looking forward to the performances of seven Roma bands from all over the world. The concert will start by the performance on the guest of honour - the singer Jan Bendig.
The galaconcert begins at 8 pm in SaSaZu. However, given the previous years’ experience, we recommend that you arrive at least an hour earlier.
VĚRA BÍLÁ a KALE /CZECH REPUBLIC/
Věra Bílá is considered to be one of the most successful Roma singers of all-time both by musicians and by music experts. During her career she was even proclaimed by media to be the Roma queen or Ella Fitzgerald of Roma music. Věra Bílá and the members of the Kale Band hail from Rokycany, a small town in western Bohemia. As is the case with many Roma bands, the members of this band also are tied together by family bonds and they can hardly remember any more when was it that they began concerting together. Their first album called Rom-Pop, which came to light in 1995, reaped an unprecedented success. The response to their second, golden album called Kale Kalore, issued in 1998, opened the way for the Kale Band onto a path toward launching an international concert career. Eventually, their phenomenal success resulted in a recording contract with BMG. In joint performances the Kale Band appeared in the most prestigious concert halls and clubs of Europe and North America alike. Taken over the entire period of their existence, people in more than 25 countries have attended their performances.
MAHALA RAI BANDA /ROMANIA/
The villages of Clejani and Zeci Prajine in Romania are the seedbed giving birth to the very best Romani musicians. Well, it’s been the home even of the legendary bands Taraf de Haidouks and Fanfare Ciocarlia. And the Mahala Rai Banda – this is a band on which musicians from both these birthplaces are represented indeed. Their musical style often is termed the “Roma music of the 21st century“. It offers permeations of the traditional Roma music, the Balkans brass music, soul, Turkish and Arabic music – all that mixed with a pinch of reggae or dance music. It was only in 2004 that the Mahala Rai Banda have gone public with their first record. Even then already, in their native Romania, they however have become a firmly established band – and were very much sought after at a variety of wedding and other sundry celebrations. Their music penetrated westwards together with the Roma migrants from Romania, and today they rank among the most popular Roma bands both in Europe and in the United States. Their next album, entitled Ghetto Blasters, recorded in 2009, became a world sensation. It came to rank among the first 10 Best Albums of the Year of the British hit parade promulgated by Songlines Music Magazine, and managed to win numerous awards in other European countries as well.
Can there be anyone who would not be acquainted with the movie The Gypsy Camp Ascends to Heaven? It was precisely this movie which brought substantial fame to the Ilo Band members. But they also took part in other movies, such as, for example, Dark Eyes, The Mysterious Successor, or Aza the Gypsy Woman. The musical tradition of the Ilo Band reaches back to the 18th century, following the glorious dynasty of Siberian Roma, the Vasilyevs and Buzylyovyches. Currently it represents one of Russia’s eminent Romani bands, one that certainly makes a contribution to the blossoming of Romani culture in general and to the revival of forgotten popular Roma songs. Some of these even came to appear on a disk from the Golden Fund series and ranked abreast of such famous artists as, for instance, Varya Panina, Lala Chyornaya, or Nikolay Slichenko. With their distinctive soloist, Nataliya Buzylyovova, the Ilo Band members were able to attract the sympathies of the audiences not only in Russia but also in France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Norway, as well as in Viet Nam.
TAMBURITZA OF DANUBE /SERBIA/
Tamburitza od Danube is the sole orchestra active on the territory of Serbian Vojvodina which combines the local folk music with Romani musical traditions. The penetration of Romani harmonies into the repertoire of the band is not only the result of the popularity of this music; it also results from the fact that some of the band members are Roma musicians. In addition to Roma music the band also plays songs originating from the farming regions in the North of Serbia, or those composed by internationally recognized authors. The famous musician, Mile Nikolić, is at the head of the band which he has been able to make known all over the world: from Europe to the U.S. and Canada, too.
Bring three experienced Roma musicians together – an accordion player, a guitarist and a drummer – then add four jazzmen – playing the trumpet, trombone, piano, and bass – and to top if off, blend it with the deep, distinctive voice of the Roma singer Neno Iliev – and what you’ll end up with is a cocktail full of traditional Roma music, jazz and funk, with some admixture of Latino. Precisely this kind of music is played by the RomaNeno. The band was formed in 2010, and three years later they came up with their first album called Taj Mahal. The band members have been performing at festivals not only in their native Bulgaria but also abroad. Among other locations, they performed e.g. at the prestigious Worms Jazz Festival in Antwerp. Their concerts are crazy, colourful, delicious and make your body and soul dance. “World or ethno music, gypsy jazz – don’t try to push any definition upon our music, all you have to do is to experience it,“ say the band members themselves.
The Šukar Band was established in 1990, bringing together players from various Ljubljana music bands. Most of them are members of tambourine orchestras having initially played traditional Slovenian music who later were taken with Roma music. The Šukar repertoire covers Roma music from all over Europe which is highly variegated thanks to the diversity of conditions and cultures. In their repertoire they include composed and recorded songs as well as those handed down only by the word of mouth which they adapt in an original way giving them a new form. Most of the songs are sung in the Romani dialects known as “Pristevacki“ and “Cergarski“, but you may also meet with the Sinti, Hungarian, Olah, or Russian dialects. During the course of its 25 years of existence the Šukar have produced a total of eight albums and also a Romani songbook.
FLAMENCO AIRE QUINTERO /SPAIN/
Year after year, genuine flamenco continues ranking among the Khamoro Festival genres most sought after. This is why the Flamenco Aire Quintero ensemble, in which the best musicians and dancers have congregated, is sure not to disappoint not only the lovers of this passionate style. In fact, the singers Juan Luis Vega Garcia “El Maera“ and José Guerrero “Tremendo Hijo“ grew up in the cradle of flamenco – the town of Sevilla where their families encouraged them to engage in singing and dancing from childhood. They will be accompanied by guitar player José Antonio Acevedo. The three musicians will also be joined by three excellent dancers: Luis de Utreta, Juan Aquirre, and Estefania Narvaez. Although born in different parts of the world they all of them live in Andalusia today, where they can give themselves fully to their love – which is flamenco.
GUEST: JAN BENDIG /CZECH REPUBLIC/
At the age of twenty one this Hradec Králové native has entered the consciousness of hundreds of thousands of spectators mainly thanks to his performance in 2009 in the Czecho-Slovak SuperStar singers‘ television contest. Not only his talents but also his natural and unaffected expression have captivated the jury and the viewers alike. One year later already, together with the songstress Ewa Farná, they recorded the song I still have the same aim and a video clip promoting the Czech version of the musical movie Camp Rock 2. He has also been able to get ahead as an actor. In 2010 in the viewers’ musical opinion poll Czech Nightingale Mattoni, he won nomination in the Discovery of the Year category. Three years later he also secured a nomination for the prestigious Thalia Award for his performance in the musical Superstar Company. Early in 2013 he recorded four songs for the Czech version of the Italian animated series Winx Club. Last year during a brief period he has been able to produce no less than three successful singles, including the Romani song Me Nasundzom that will be heard during the closing gala concert of which Jan Bendig will be the special guest.