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Prague, Hlavní Mesto Praha, Czech Republic | INDIE

Prague, Hlavní Mesto Praha, Czech Republic | INDIE
Band World Hip Hop


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This band has not uploaded any videos




Romany hip hop star achieves mainstream success fuses a pop, Romany and hip hop sound
“A lot of Gypsies hate me for this, but I’m not playing for one side.” --Radoslav “Gipsy” Banga, Romany rapper
One Wednesday night back in March, the Retro Music Hall, a club in Praha 2, unveiled a new breed of hip hop gathering previously unknown to the Czech Republic. It did not have the typical trappings of a trendy nightlife hangout. The smoke was not thick enough. For some time, the bartenders stood with folded arms. There were children running up and down the stairs to kill time. While one table hosted an older couple, another was occupied by a family of six.
Along with the absence of urban wear such as hoodies, sweat bands, and baggy jeans, the night showed hip hop in a new light: a family affair.
The main attraction: Romany rapper Radoslav “Gipsy” Banga, 23.
“I’m a new fan myself,” Elisia Cerva, 29, said shyly, sitting with her husband at the table furthest from the crowd. She explained that her curiosity was piqued when she saw one of Gipsy’s performances on television.
She was not alone. The top floor of Retro was filled with spectators that pulled up chairs or stood at the rails to watch Gipsy and the undulating crowd on the dance floor below. Most cited the same curiosity that led them there that night, when white Czech faces far outnumbered those of Romany fans.
“Gipsy talks to and about everyone,” James Vanek, 12, said, specifically pointing to the table behind them with two elderly women, “he sings for the Czech people.”
Vanek, who was joined by his two brothers, John, 15, and Michael, 21, was emphasizing Gipsy’s multi-generational and multi-ethnic appeal. Hip hop does not dominate the commercial airwaves in the Czech Republic as it does in the Western countries, but manages the great feat of dragging an underground scene into the spotlight with a Roma at its helm.
Gipsy has achieved a unique position as a Roma community who has garnered mass popularity against the background of discrimination.. Roma, who account for some two percent of the 10.2 million people living in the Czech Republic, have an unemployment rate reaches rates of up to 90 percent and frequently live in impoverished conditions.
“The lyrics alone remind us of our discrimination against Gypsies and that they have rights, too,” Pisan Friedl, 40, said sitting at a table on the top floor of Retro.
Gipsy, on his last album, Ya Favourite CD Rom, opens with a tale of Romanis stealing a car, confronting the stereotype that all Roma steal. But Gipsy explains that the criticism is not as simple as it might seem.
“A lot of Gypsies hate me for this, but I’m not playing for one side,” he said in an e-mail interview. “We all have made mistakes. I’m critical of the whole world because it is going through some deep troubles. We behave like stupid animals in the jungle.”
Instead of adopting the aggressive style of old school hip hop to address the social issues in his music, Gipsy's approach is infused with irony and on-stage antics for his performances. He strutted and danced across the stage at Retro with the frenetic mechanical movements of a wind-up toy. He requested a man’s hat, did a brief jig, and gratefully returned it. He adorned a slightly overweight teen with flowers, and she could not stop covering her mouth in disbelief.
“My music is both serious and fun in one piece,” Gipsy said, “I believe that the point must be radical and also funny. That way, people can’t judge you. They smile, but feel that there is something deeper.”
For his latest album released last fall, Romano Hip Hop, he recruited new Romany musicians to form, adding violinist Vojta Lavicka and brothers Petr Surmaj on the accordion and Jan Surmaj on the double bass/up-right bass to shape a sound that mixes hip hop, Romany traditional music and pop. won an Angel Award, the Czech equivalent to the Grammy, for Discovery of the Year. The album was also successful abroad, filling the 13th spot on the World Music Charts of Europe. even vied in March for a chance to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest that helped past winners like ABBA and Celine Dion to reach global appeal. Just competing in the contest as a Roma catapults Gipsy into the mainstream and presents a new Roma image of success far removed from the negative one so commonly whispered about, that is, Roma as abusers of the social welfare system.
Back at Retro, Gipsy walked onto the stage in Retro without preamble. He donned a simple striped, collared shirt and jeans. He caught the audience offguard and the applause was delayed, but it quickly escalated. The oldest Vanek brother yelled to say one more thing.
“Compared to 50 Cent, Gipsy is better because he speaks about what people care about and not about guns, money, and expensive cars,” Michael Vanek said right before he joined his brothers on the dance floor.
- Prague Wanderer By Josh Barajas

"REFLEX, April 5th, 2007"

„…Radio stations play the hit Romano Hip Hop again and again, but never mind! It is a matter of principle to jump in the black & white crowd right at the concert. The band switches between the Romani tradition and masterly rap in a moment, communicating with the audience easily, strays into chanson, jazz ballads and Romani pop music. It is a small dynamic pro-show and the band goes with rhythm like hell! It is always a miracle when someone as talented as them starts their path into the world…“ - Petra Konrádová

"iDnes, March 15th, 2007"

„…Thanks to the unique attitude, Gipsy manages something unheard of – to create a completely new, original and functioning genre. We can say that the discovery of the year is not only Radoslav Banga as an individual artist, but Romano Hip Hop as a brand new music genre. A thing like this happens only very rarely nowadays and this is one of the reasons why Gipsy and their unique interpretation of world music deserve the Andìl award…“ - Ondrej Bezr

"Gypsy hip-hoppers keep it real"

It has that gothic font beloved of gangster MCs on the cover. It has the breathless aggressive rapper voice and more than a passing homage to Eminems rhythm style and vocal timbre, but has something very fresh besides the usual adoption of hip-hop by non-US culture. This 15-track record isn't simply an aping of LA or NYC, but possesses some fine pop-song hooks that lodge in your brain. And there is, as you might expect from the title, a Gypsy influence in the off-beat syncopated rhythms provided by the un-hip-hop ensemble of guitar, accordions, hammered dulcimer and fiddle that backs the rap. Tha?s not to say that a strident attitude isn't apparent. Také the lyrics of 'Multin': 'There in history was no Rom whove made the atomic bomb/so how is it possible that Roma are so wrong?' Or the sentiment in 'Welcome To Prague (Gipsy Kids Can Get You Down)': 'Pure street lije, tha?s my community/Look as Gypsies retake the culture'. made an appearance at the South Bank festival and Glastonbury this year and are on the bill for Bestival. Theirs is a novel mix of old and new, traditional and contemporary. Gypsy music purists might scoff at the mongrel mix, but you can hear a clear authentic voice at the centre of it - even if you can't understand the language.
Mark Espiner
- Songlines, 2007/11


Ce jeune rappeur tsigane montre une nouvelle facette du talent des gitans. Déjà très à l’aise dans sa langue natale, il a aussi sorti un album en anglais et développe des thèmes propres à ses origines. Véritable talent, le nom de Gipsy ne va pas rester très longtemps inconnu dans nos contrées.
My Favorite Cd Rom

Parlez de gitans des pays de l’Est, et la grande majorité des gens pensent taraf, orchestre ambulant ou autres clichés. Gipsy, jeune rappeur de République Tchèque, y oppose son Hip Hop en version internationale. Ya favorite cd rom était un véritable défi pour lui : Faire un album uniquement en anglais, pour que tout le monde entende et comprenne sa vie, ses aigreurs et ses rêves. Encore très marqué par le son des Etats-Unis, cet album révèle malgré tout, un jeune musicien au talent incontestable, qui dépeint les problèmes des Gitans dans son pays et dans le monde. Ils ne sont pas nombreux sur une scène tchèque majoritairement blanche. Raison de plus pour s’intéresser à lui.

Arnaud Cabanne

- Mondomix


Ya Favourite CD Rom (Paranormalz, 2003)
Romano Hip Hop (Indies Scope Records, 2006)
Reprezent (Indies Scope Records, 2008)



Internationally, the most successful Czech band of our times: A cheeky combination of hip hop, gipsy music, r'n'b, pop and many other influences, have been astounding people from Glastonbury to Ljubljana, from Lisbon through Kiev and on to Ulsan in Korea. Effervescent singer, rapper, composer and all-round entertainer Radoslav 'Gipsy' Banga, along with the experienced and famous Czech gipsy violinist and singer Vojta Lavicka, serve up this unique energy cocktail for your joy and pleasure, with more than just a little help from the young, traditionally schooled gipsy musicians, the Surmaj brothers. exploded on to the Czech music scene in 2004 and the borders between world music, gypsy music, hip hop and pop were broken for the first time in the Czech Republic.

Radoslav Banga, aka 'Gipsy', was born in Prague where he lived as a street kid from the age of 13 and connected with hip-hop and rap. He has since risen to be the Ambassador of Minorities in CZ during the European Year of Equal Opportunities, 2007. After working with local bands like Syndrom Snopp, he developed his style of Romano hip-hop, combining Roma rhythms and language with the 200bpm music played by Balkan brass bands. In partnership with top Czech gypsy 'primas', violin maestro Vojta Lavicka, (ex: Alom, Deep Sweden..), and the two young brothers, Petr Surmaj (gtr, accordion) & Jan Surmaj (electric upright bass), he made a breakthrough as

Gipsy has collaborated and performed with various well-known artists. He has played as a guest with the Boban Markovic Orkestar, shared the stage with GZA, rapped with Gogol Bordello, played the main Czech festivals, the Karneval der Kulturen in Berlin and made several concerts in Berlin's Kaffee Burger. In addition, he is a regular guest on Radio Multikulti/Funkhaus Europa. Mondomix magazine referred to him as “a new talent about to be discovered for the wider public.”

In 2006 Gipsy was nominated by The Academy of Popular Music at the Angel Awards 2005, the Czech version of The Grammy Awards, for the Best Album in Hip-Hop & R´n´B category. The following year, the band received two nominations: one for the Best Album in the World Music category and the other as a Best New Artist. They won the latter.

The band have covered the European concert circuit visiting Austria, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Hungary and Germany amongst others. In 2006, London foundation CM,, which cooperates extensively with the band, organized guest club performances for the band in Brighton and at the Social in London, as well as at the Notting Hill Carnival. Also, thanks to CM, played the Pulse Festival in London, Bestival on the Isle Of Wight and appeared as the first Czech band ever at the Glastonbury festival in 2007.

The band has also received a warm and enthusiastic reception at other well known European events like Dunya Festival in Rotterdam, Music Meeting in Nijmegen, Mundial Festival in Tillburg and on the Kontrabanda Festival Tour of the Netherlands in Den Haag, Eindhoven and Amsterdam’s Paradiso. Other venues and events where has triumphed include the Couleur Cafe in Brussels (BE), Colours of Ostrava and Rock For People (CZ), Pohoda in Trencin (SK), Sziget Festival in Budapest (HU), Viertelfest in Bremen (DE) and Ulsan World Music Festival (KR).

On the first album, 'Romano Hip Hop', released on Indies Scope Records (, you can hear the irony and humour of the rapper, Romany musicality and pop finesse, an energetic synthesis of the players’ experiences of music and life. created their own original sound and space where genuine traditional music and hip-hop meet.

The title song of 'Romano Hip Hop' was chosen as a ‘Song of the Year’ by readers of Czech music magazine Filter and became the most played track on the official Czech radio chart IFPI in April 2007, the best position ever reached by a world music singer or band in Czech Republic. The CD Romano Hip Hop also found success abroad, hitting the top ten in the World Music Charts Europe in May 2007. In March 2007, the song Jednou (Once), off this same debut album, was included on the Gypsy Groove compilation on the american label Putumayo.

'Reprezent', the second album, is a further development on’s 'romano hip-hop' style which mixes elements of hip-hop, rap, pop, R&B and traditional Romani music. have gone from strength to strength and have been through many rewarding experiences since the successful release of their debut ‘gold’ album 'Romano Hip Hop'. 'Reprezent' is peppered with strong melodic motifs and augment their traditional attributes of freshness, grace, humour and originality with a genuine concern for social issues of our times. These themes run throughout the entire album. As Gipsy says, “We decided on selecting songs with an actual ‘message’.” In expressing these sentiments, the band both confr