Khamoro, the biggest and the best-known Roma festival in the world is coming now to two Czech cities – Prague and Pilsen. The visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy concerts of traditional Roma music, gypsy jazz, classical music and newly also hip hop. Apart from music, the festival will also offer a plethora of accompanying events, including a specialized seminar.
Ever since 1999 the festival has been organized by Slovo 21 association and Studio Production Saga. The 17th year of the festival is held under the auspices of Bohuslav Sobotka, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Daniel Herman, the Minister of Culture, and Adriana Krnáčová, the Mayor of the City of Prague. In Pilsen also under the patronage of Martin Baxa, 1st Deputy Mayor of the City of Pilsen. Khamoro will take place in Prague in the period from 24 to 30 May 2015 and in Pilsen in the period from 26 to 28 May 2015.
Khamoro in Prague, which has won its place in Prague City Tourism as one of the top fifteen cultural events held in the Capital of Prague, was kicked off at Prague's embankment already on Sunday 24 May. Terne Čhave with Jan Bendig made an appearance at the welcome party, as well as Vladimir 518, the most famous Czech rapper who, together with a Roma musician Mario Bihári, prepared a unique performance exclusively for Khamoro.
The musical programme in Prague continues on Monday and Tuesday by gypsy jazz concerts. On the first day Swing de Gitanes, an Israeli band, will give a concert in Jazz Dock, while the next day, one of the best world performers of this genre, Angelo Debarre from France, will perform in Lucerna Music Bar, together with his band Marius Apostol - Gipsy Unity. “On Tuesday, the Prague Khamoro will also offer a concert of classical and jazz music called Black-and-White World. The concert has been put together by Goran Tairović, an outstanding Roma musician from Serbia, and a total of seventeen artists from the Czech Republic and Serbia will make their appearance,“ reveals Soňa Kalejová, the festival spokesperson.
For the first time ever a hip hop concert has been included by the organizers in the festival programme. It will take place on Wednesday in Lucerna Music Bar where for example Vladimir 518 together with Mike Trafik and Refew, or Roma Sijam, a band of young Roma from Serbia and the winner of X Factor TV competition in their homeland, will perform with many others.
Thursday and Friday will be devoted to concerts of traditional Roma music. During these two days the best Roma bands from all over the world will perform in Roxy club – Mahala Rai Banda (Romania), Ilo (Russia), Tamburitza of Danube (Serbia), Flamenco Aire Quintero (Spain), Šukar (Slovenia) a RomaNeno (Bulgaria). This year, the Czech Republic will be represented by Věra Bílá & Kale. All the ensembles will also make an appearance at the final gala concert in SaSaZu on Saturday, which will mark the ceremonial closure of this year's Khamoro.
“The pleasure of seeing all the bands together will be enjoyed by viewers during the parade of performers that will hit the road in the Wenceslas Square at high noon and end in the Old Town Square. Altogether approximately three hundred artists, including twenty amateur and professional dance ensembles from the Czech Republic, will walk through the city of Prague. The parade will be led by a horse-drawn carriage. And I can say now already that Věra Bílá will ride in it, who at the time of her greatest popularity was considered to be the queen of Roma music,“ says Džemil Silajdžić, the art director and producer of Khamoro Festival, when inviting us to one of the most attractive events of the festival.
Khamoro in Prague will as every year offer also a number of accompanying events. Ranking among them is the exhibition called “Vanished World of Roma – Lety near Písek“ and “Double Personality“ of Iveta Horváthová, a Roma artist, tales of the old Roma, “Khamororo“ children's day, Street Battle Jam dance competition and also the dance and singing workshops in the centre of Prague. A component part of the festival will also be a specialized seminar, where the Roma and non-Roma experts from all over the world will discuss the position of Roma culture.
Apart from Prague, the venue of Khamoro this year will also be Pilsen, the European Capital of Culture 2015.
“One of the topics of the Pilsen 2015 project is called Transit and Minorities. KHAMORO Festival constitutes of the significant actors in the field of culture who help us create its programme. Minorities are perceived by us as a source of inspiration and enrichment. In the framework of the project, we invite people to open Pilsen which first and foremost means opening their mind, doing away with prejudices and accepting the otherness. I do appreciate that the festival takes place in Pilsen, also thanks to the cooperation with local partners," explains Jiří Sulženko, the Programme Director of the Pilsen - European Capital of Culture 2015 project. The festival will offer concerts as well as the accompanying programme. It will be launched on Tuesday 26 May by lectures given at selected Pilsen schools and by community programme. Until Thursday 28 May the visitors can enjoy gypsy jazz, traditional Roma music, community programme and a live performance of a giant 650 kg Mandala cake. The highlight of Khamoro in Pilsen will be the gala concert given by Věra Bílá & Kale (Czech Republic), Mahala Rai Banda (Romania) and Ilo (Russia) held in the Republic Square.