We showed the whites that we were also human

Author: Jan Horváth, Sr.
Location: Studenka
Not long ago our organization “Romano jilo” (Roma Heart) organized an event with the title “Traditional Romany Folklore and Music.” Whoever organizes similar actions and is active with Romany issues knows what that involves. But we fear nothing and we have demonstrated to the town leaders, to Madame Mayor and the other guests, that the Roma also know how to have a good time and behave themselves.
First we looked for sponsors and money for the event.
We visited several entrepreneurs. I have to say that they were surprised at first, but in the end they let themselves be convinced. The Romany entrepreneur Mr. Busek, owner of a restaurant, gave five hundred crowns, and the white entrepreneur Mr. Rysavy arranged for some bottles of vodka: probably he has relatives in Russia – which is not to question his taste!
We also found some flowers for our women, since it had been Mother’s Day not long before. This gift was arranged by Mr. Leja and his floral shop.
The Romany family of the Chalupeks from Studénka also did themselves proud. Mrs. Jarka Chalupková works in a gardening store, so she brought some flowers too.
The director of the MIVA company, a water and heating service, Mr. Vavrecka, also contributed a small sum.
So there was nothing to keep us from going forward with the event.
Oh – I almost forgot the municipal authority! They loaned us the hall of the culture center for free.
The piece de résistance of the program was the performance of the Romany musician and teacher Ján Gaspar Hrisko with his companion from Brno, Ester Puková.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Hrisko atold everybody about the traditions of Romany folklore and also mentioned the greats of Romany culture. There is no doubt that his father, also Ján Gaspar Hrisko, the former head of BROLNU and an excellent artist, is one of them. Unfortunately, he is no longer among the living.
His son spoke of him with love and respect – and also spoke about other Romany artists: Rinaldo Oláh from Bratislava; Ján Farkas; Sándor Lakatos, the king of Romany music from Hungary, and others.
In conclusion he played a few études on the violin. He and Ester played and sang traditional gypsy melodies. They didn’t forget our Romany anthem, Chajori romani” (Gypsy Tears).
The applause was endless; the guests could not get over their surprise at our Romany musicians. Well — they’re ours and the whole world envies us.
Madame Mayor left with her guests because she had another event to attend. She received a bouquet from us and even had a few drinks.
The program continued with the performance of our ensemble Cerchena (Stars), under the direction of Mirek Horváth from Bílovec. Both young and the old had a goodtime, and we danced until 2 am.
When we planned this event and went around to all the city departments, we were concerned about how it would all turn out. Some people have wrong ideas about the Roma. Most people know Roms only from the negative side. But you can’t just lump us all together.
People should recognize and tolerate one another. In the end we showed the whites that we are human too. We know how to have a good time, how to play music and how to behave. We tidied up the hall and left it in order.
What was the response from the city leadership? The next day, when I called the director of the local culture center, she said to me that it wasn’t for me to thank her, but that she and everyone from the city leadership thanked us!!!
In conclusion? O drom amenge phundra do! The way is open for us!

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