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, Gipsy.cz 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 talented musicians, students of the Jaroslav Jezek Conservatory and College.
Gipsy.cz 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.cz.
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 Gipsy.cz 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, www.cmsounds.com, 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, Gipsy.cz 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 Gipsy.cz 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 Gipsy.cz album, 'Romano Hip Hop', released on Indies Scope Records (www.indies.eu), 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. Gipsy.cz 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 Gipsy.cz’s 'romano hip-hop' style which mixes elements of hip-hop, rap, pop, R&B and traditional Romani music. Gipsy.cz 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 Gipsy.cz 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 confront and overcome the xenophobic barriers that they see in their own struggle.
In Oct 2008, 'Reprezent', like its predecessor, made the World Music Charts Europe, this time hitting an unprecedented number three spot.
After the changes in the bands set-up (January 2009) the band is going to take part in Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.
Current band's set up:
Vojta Lavicka - violin, voc;
Noemi Fialova - violin, voc;
Tibor Zida - gt, voc;
atej Cerny - bgt,
Oliver Lipensky - ds