Romano drom, or Roma Way

It’s already been a decade since the cooperation between the Czech Philharmonic, singer and choirmaster Ida Kelarova and her Čhavorenge children's choir Čhavorenge began and the project still continues. The purpose of the joint endeavor is to support Roma children and youth not only in their journey to music.

Photo illustrating page  Romský pěvecký sbor Čhavorenge

The project's track record includes ninety concerts in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, including a performance as part of the Czech Philharmonic's Open Air Concert on Hradčanská Square under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek, a close collaboration with actress Martha Issová and film director Alice Nellis, hundreds of workshops, but, above all, dozens of Roma children and young people’s impacted life stories. These people find a relationship with their own culture, experience a sense of true self-confidence and discover paths in life other than those that are often outlined by negative external circumstances.

It is important to say that Romano drom is not and in no way should be one-sided. The project is meant to open up mutual understanding from the other side as well. For all those that meet Romani children, accompany them, collaborate with them in workshops, which enables them to learn to understand what the specific obstacles of social exclusion and social rejection actually are.

We presented Romano drom at concerts and workshops in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and toured to London. We have performed at concerts at the Czech Smetanova Litomyšl and Slovak Pohoda festivals. In 2019, 2021, and 2022, together with other musicians, children from Čhavorenge took part in celebration concerts for the International Roma Day on 8 April. The programs reached tens of thousands of viewers via Czech Television.

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"Čhavorenge are my stars. A great hope for all other kids that they can get so far... In the beginning, it was a way out of a settlement, now it's a way out into the world. And it's amazing to see, for example, when Dominik–a boy from a shack in a Slovak settlement–stands up and sings a solo in London in front of a whole audience. And, in front of your eyes, you see the little shack where he lives with others and where there’s no toilet, no water. That's unbelievable."

Ida Kelarová

Gelem, gelem - International Romani anthem

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