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Vera Bila does everything in a big way. Her body is oversized. Her dark hair billows untidily. Her temperament is fiery. She chain smokes. She belts out songs with gusto in a hoarse, earthy voice. In fact, this singer from the Romany tradition is on her way to being a cabaret star in Europe.
Surrounded by the husband she adores, and a loyal entourage of amateur Gypsy musicians who began as manual laborers, she tours the capitals of Europe in a caravan that frequently breaks down. Here is a portrait of a Gypsy diva who is viewed with indifference and suspicion in her own country, even as she gains acclaim elsewhere.
The age-old discrimination against Gypsies has shaped Bila's character. She must constantly battle for acceptance. "I sing about the troubles I have. I just put everything into my songs. Sometimes when I sing I cry..."
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