Gypsy jazz unfolds in the capital’s Main Square

There are musical genres known as Rom-pop and Rom’n’roll, but there also exists a fusion of genres which performer Ida Kelarová calls “Gypsy jazz”, combining traditional songs, melodies and Roma language with jazz-based rhythms and Latin-influenced sounds. On Thursday, August 16, Kelarová with her “Jazz Famelija” band offered a sample of this unique musical fusion at Bratislava’s Main Square.

Gypsy jazz, Ida at a workshopGypsy jazz, Ida at a workshop (Source: SME Pavol Funtál)

There are musical genres known as Rom-pop and Rom’n’roll, but there also exists a fusion of genres which performer Ida Kelarová calls “Gypsy jazz”, combining traditional songs, melodies and Roma language with jazz-based rhythms and Latin-influenced sounds. On Thursday, August 16, Kelarová with her “Jazz Famelija” band offered a sample of this unique musical fusion at Bratislava’s Main Square.

The concert took place within the “Bratislava Cultural Summer” series and lured quite a lot of visitors, some of whom danced to the catchy melodies and infectious rhythms. Kelarová performed with a band consisting of Czech and Slovak musicians, including Roman Jánoška on violin, Ondrej Krajňák on piano, Tomáš Baroš on bass, Maroš Ševčík on drums, Otto Hejnic on percussion, and – last but not least – her partner Deziderius Dužda.

Ida Kelarová is a Czech musician who openly embraces her Roma roots (her father was Roma musician) which have in turn greatly influenced her music. In addition to performing, she lectures on singing, and her workshops, called “Každý vie spievať / Everyone Can Sing”, are intended for those who would love to sing but lack the training. The workshop attempts to release the talent supposedly hidden in each of us. Moreover, in 2008 Kelarová prepared a concert with young Roma talents from the Divé maky / Wild Poppies civic association that focuses on uncovering, supporting and preparing talent in socially excluded or handicapped youths. A live recording of this concert was released in 2009 under the title Divé maky pod vedením Idy Kelarovej (Wild Poppies as tutored by Ida Kelarová).

The free outdoor concert on August 16 (and a paid performance on August 19 in the courtyard of the Primatial Palace, with Slovak saxophone player Radovan Tariška) allowed attendees to enjoy both the musical and entertainer sides of this interesting woman.

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