Desiderius Dužda

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Desiderius Dužda, nicknamed “Dežo” by his loved ones, is a charismatic guitarist, successful singer and songwriter. He is one of the key figures in the field of Romani music in the Czech Republic.

Dežo was born in Pilsen and grew up in Rokycany. Dežo began to consider music as the meaning of his life very soon, at the age of four he began to learn to play the guitar himself, to establish himself a little among his numerous siblings. He was inspired by his father, Vojtěch Bela Dužda, a well-known violist at the time (who loved all musical instruments).

But Dežo did not become a musician right away. He left home at the age of fourteen and worked as a miner in Karviná for ten years. Music helped him overcome difficult moments in his life and this is perhaps why he and a few friends founded a music group in Karviná and played at local parties. At that time, he was mainly inspired by musicians who mastered the art of improvisation (eg Steve Wonder, George Benson).

People who know Dežo claim that his approach to music is unique – he lives in every tone, expresses all human feelings and can interpret them in the same quality to his audience. He puts himself and what he has experienced into his music.

In the 1990s, he became one of the founding members of the Kale music group which performed along side Věra Bílá. He also began composing music. He likes to add elements of jazz and funk to his music. Dežo traveled all over the world with the group Kale. During his performances, he met many other artists and musicians who inspired him. Thanks to one of these trips, he met his life partner, Ida Kelarová.

Dežo and Ida founded the band Romano Rat (Roma Blood) and then performed with the band for five years. Later, they co-founded the group Jazz Famelija, which represents Romani culture. Dežo is the author of many of the songs sang by Ida Kelarová. Ida interprets, arranges and produces his songs. They have been co working for 25 years.

“Dežo says that good music speaks to the audience, regardless of the language in which it is sung, it should be interpreted so that it touches all hearts”

© 2021 Ida Kelarová