The celebrations of the International Roma Day, which took place during the whole weekend of 6th – 8th April, were culminated in a final ceremony and afterparty at the Archa Theater in Prague. One of the most talented Roma artists from Slovak and Czech republic, such as Antonín Gondolán or Marta Balážová, performed on stage. Gejza Horváth received a significant award for lifetime achivement in the Romani language.
This year’s fourth edition featured the Romipen theme, which can be seen as a set of cultural traditions, values and ways of negotiation, performance and behavior not only within the family and community but also the public. These are unwritten laws passed from generation to generation, which distinguish Romani society from most.
However, as one of the clips of this year shows, Romipen is not just about a person is born like a Roma or not. It is a feeling which one can have in himself, although he does not belong to this minority. The final ceremony accompanying the moderators Ladislav Goral and Iveta Deméterová was accompanied by such a flood of energy and pure joy from music and life.
The temperament of Roma musicians is disarming and the performance of the singers Gejza Horváth, Gitana, Marta Balážová or Zdeněk Lázok took breath. Talent of Romani musicians was also welcomed by the former candidate for president, composer and producer Michal Horáček. As a musical guest, singer Anna Slováčková performed with a classic song from the legendary Roma singer Věra Bílá. The blending of traditional Romany motifs with modern approach was one of the most exciting moments of the evening. Older musicians seemed to convey an imaginary torch to the younger ones, but at the same time they also return to the songs that Roma ethnics have been accompanying for a long time. It was a beautiful demonstration of romance that does not lose touch with its traditions and culture, but it does not forget to evolve over time.
The International Roma Day, organized by the Ara Art Organization, serves as an open space for people of different ethnic backgrounds and is definitely not just a closed event for the Roma audience. It brings the best of what we have of Romani culture in our home countries and reflects what Roma really is and how it touches each of us. The event successfully fights against negative Roma stereotypes. Elegant design and perfect organization, it creates an important place on the map of cultural events in our land.