Ida Kelarová is a singer, musician and choirmaster who performs some of
the best Romany music to come out of the Czech Republic. Paradoxically it
was years before she discovered her Romany roots and drew inspiration from
Roma culture and music. Today this legacy has become an important part of
her life and she works hard to help talented Romany children living in
excluded localities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Roma activists David Tišer and Karel Karika are this year’s recipients
of the František Kriegel award in recognition of civic courage handed out
by the Charter 77 foundation. The award, which will be presented at a
ceremony in Prague on Wednesday, acknowledges their fight for equality and
human rights for members of the Romani community as well as for the
On the eve of International Roma Day, Radio Prague is featuring music by
some of the country’s best Romany singers.
It was supposed to be the week when she started her comeback tour. Instead,
it ended with her death on a hospital bed. Věra Bílá, who died on
Tuesday, was just 64-years-old. But those who knew her say her songs will
remain an important contribution to the genre of world music forever.
Elena Gorolová, a Roma social worker from the north Moravian city of
Ostrava, has been included on an annual BBC list of 100 inspirational and
influential women for 2018. The BBC highlighted Ms Gorolová’s campaign
against forced sterilisation as well as her work to return
institutionalised children to their birth families.
Whereas in 1990 there were eight Roma MPs in the Czechoslovak Parliment,
today there are none and candidates who belong to the minority have not had
much success in the recent communal elections either. Although individual
cases of success exist, they are extremely rare. Reasons behind the lack of
Roma representation in politics include negative cononations with the
minority among majority voters, a lack of popular candidates and low
election participation among members of the Roma minority themselves.
Earlier this year the young piano virtuoso Tomáš Kačo performed for the
first time at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall. It was the fulfilment of a
long-held dream for the 31-year-old, who comes from a large Romany family
in a small Czech town and was a youth prodigy before seizing a
life-changing chance to study in the US.
Why do ethnic conflicts in some parts of the world flare up so easily and
spread so fast? Is ethnic hate and intolerance contagious? Researchers from
the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined forces to try to find the answers to
some of those questions and arrived at some surprising conclusions.