Roma diva Věra Bílá sang on many world stages, but her career was destroyed by gambling and debts

Věra Bílá

Roma singer Věra Bílá was hailed as an extraordinary talent, who had a brilliant career ahead of her. Five years ago, she died ill and in poverty.

At the start of her career, Věra Bílá soared on the wings of her incredible talent. She sold out concert halls all over the world; in France she won the award for Best Album of the Year in the world music category for her debut album Rom-Pop.

Newspapers such as The Guardian and Libération described her as an extraordinary talent and did not spare words such as "star" or "diva". At a private concert in the White House, she sang for Bill Clinton and sold out concert halls such as the Olympia in Paris.

Vera Bila, Kale - Pas o panori

Bílá sang in Romani, Czech and Slovak. For many years she was associated primarily with the band Kale, with whom she performed in 26 countries. But she was not willing to work for success. She didn't like to travel, because she couldn't smoke on a plane. She let her successful career, for which her manager Jiří Smetana had a great deal of credit, slip through her fingers.  Most of the money she earned went into slot machines.

Vera Bila, Kale - Ma Dza Nikhaj (Video)

From the height of success to rock bottom

For Jiří Smetana, it was a frustrating ride. He arranged concerts at the Royal Opera House in Madrid or at the prestigious Carnegie Hall. However, the Romany singer cancelled the concerts due to illness, and the concert in Carnegie Hall was even cancelled due to a last-minute gig in Prešov. The sad truth was that she didn't want to sing and especially not to travel.

"Bílá was one of the biggest talents born in the Czech Republic. She had all the prerequisites to be a star but she lacked two vital traits – the ability to work hard and reliability," wrote music critic Jiří Černý.  Bílá died on March 12, 2019 at the age of 64 - ailing, indebted and alone.

Na Kloboučku - Věra Bílá, Zuzana Navarová & Bára Hrzánová - Sakorati

Source: Český rozhlas