World Roma festival begins in Prague
They call it the biggest Roma culture festival in the world, and it’s back in Prague for the 14th year. The Khamoro, or World Roma Festival, means nine days of some of the best gypsy bands from all corners of Europe, but also a wide array of cultural and sociological events all aimed at promoting unity and understanding.
“The Khamoro festival is not only about the music. We have a lot of accompanying programmes, there will be a fashion show by [Cuban fashion designer] Osmany Laffita and exhibitions on Wednesday and Thursday. But the main programme is the music. The most famous bands that have been invited this year are Kočani Orkestar from Macedonia and Urs Karpatz from France. The main aim of the festival is to bring Roma and non-Roma together more this week in the Czech Republic, because the situation in the Czech Republic is not normal, and we have been trying for ten years to build up relationships between Roma and non-Roma in the Czech Republic. And we think the best way to do that is through culture.”
“Having worked on the festival from the beginning, I can say there were a lot of Roma visitors at the festival the first year, and looking back on recent years there have been a lot of Roma visitors and non-Roma visitors. So I think we’ve made some progress, that we’ve brought some interesting ideas to the Czech Republic and shown that non-Roma and Roma can be together in one place.”
The festival is accompanied by a media campaign that highlights not only the festival itself but also Roma issues in general.
The programme includes a performance of the National Theatre called ‘My Neighbour, My Enemy’, about the co-existence of Czechs and Roma and composed from public documents and resources.
This year for the first time, Roma from around Europe will be able to take part in workshops in cultural management aimed at helping them organise cultural events elsewhere.
The musical programme wraps up with a gala concert Saturday evening in Prague’s SaSaZu club starring the band Nightwork and singer Martin Svátek