Gypsy family band

Mato Ferkov and Alex Rybar are two young men from the Lunik IX settlement in Kosice. Both plan to attend music school in Kosice, so they can become music teachers and have the same impact on Roma young people that their teachers and family have had on them.

Mato and Alex are cousins, and they come from a musical family. “My grandfather and great-grandfather were musicians, they played together,” says Alex. “I first got into it when I was seven or eight years old. My grandfather taught me to play a song with them in church. Then I started playing in a group on my own. Now I can’t imagine life without music. I like sports and other things, but music is the most important.”

Music isn’t just something they do, says Mato Ferkov, one of the band’s members. “For a Roma person, music is life, we live through music. When a Roma is sad, we play some music and feel it through the music. When we’re happy, we sing with joy or dance or play… if there were no music, there would be no Roma!” 

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