Jozef (Jožka) Fečo 1940–2013

As I said, Fečo was from an enormously rich family. On his mother’s side they were pig traders, and on his father’s side they were mainly musicians. They say that Jožka as a little boy used to sit next to his Uncle Marcin, who was the leader, and imitate him. So they sent him to a music professor, Božicz. He taught classical music, and Fečo fell in love with it from those lessons. He used to recall how they played Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, but he loved Smetana most of all, the quartet “From My Life” (Z mého života). At home they were always playing Romani music, so the two were combined in him.

His family also gave him gorgeous handwriting, and graphic design was, in general, his hobby. He got it from his uncle, who wrote beautifully, and as a boy, Jožka imitated his lettering. Then he not only wrote musical notation beautifully, by hand, but also invented his own lettering or made the graphic design of posters for concerts. He got a great deal of amusement out of that.

"Ajsi sal" (Song)

1. Ajsi sal, sar tri daj,
phires raťi pal o murša,
khere na soves.

2. Ladžav man, choľi chav,
hoj me ajsa romňa iľom,
Devla, so kerďom.

Ref.: Dža tu, dža mandar,
i mar pale ma ajav,
avá korkoro, me tut na kamav.

3. Imar me, tuha me
našťi buter viľikerav,
choľi tuha chav.

4. Devla, de, tuke, de,
avre muršes te arakhes,
mange smirom de.

English translation

1. You’re like your mother,
you visit the men at night
and never sleep at home.

2. I’m angry and ashamed,
that I married you,
God, what have I done.

Chorus: Get away from me,
stay away from me,
I’ll be alone, I don’t love you anymore.
3. I can no longer stay
with you anymore,
I am so angry with you.

4. May God make it so
that you find somebody else
and leave me in peace.

Ajsi sal. Lyrics and music J. Fečo, solo vocal Zlata Demeterová, performed by the J. Fečo Ensemble. Sheet music, J. Fečo

A sample of Fečo’s graphic design

Fečo’s graphic design – invitation to a Christmas concert in 2009 in Beroun.

Nane oda lavutaris

Nane oda lavutaris. Romani folk song, arranged by J. Fečo, performed by the J. Fečo Ensemble.


As I’ve said, Fečo lived for music. All his life, before he retired, he went Monday through Friday to the factory, he worked the longest for ČKD (Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk Engineering), but mainly he composed and performed. In addition to many songs, he also composed an operetta, “Géňa and Béla”, or the musical “The Thief and His World” (Zloděj a jeho svět). We performed it with the children from the Čhavorikaňi luma choir. It’s gorgeous.

From the operetta “Géňa and Béla”. Lyrics and music by J. Fečo, solo vocal Irena Ščerbanová, Ensemble Raidž.

As far as the ensembles Fečo founded, mainly people from his family performed in them, also from the extended families – his and mine. He knew how to arrange music for any lineup. During the second half of the 1980s, he also established a bigger ensemble called “Romale, aven, imar dživas” (R-a-i-dž), which loosely translated means “Roma, let’s live!” He cared a great deal about that.

Sample from a “folklore” performance in Poland, 1992.

“The Fečo Style”

Jožka Fečo about the “Fečo style”, his sister Anička and his ensembles, Roma štar and Raidž.