Don Vasyl Szmidt

Date and place of birth:

10 April 1950, Łódź.

Current place of residence:



Secondary music education.

Current job:

Singer, director of the International Festival of Romani Music and Culture in Ciechocinek, poet, writer, member of the Polish Writers' Association.

Achievements in life and work:

I succeeded in releasing several dozen of records with Romani music, out of which 11 were awarded a gold record. Moreover, I have initiated and directed the International Festival of Romani Music and Culture in Ciechocinek since 1996.

Are you living your life the way you have always wanted to?

Yes, I am. All my life dreams came true. I give concerts and release albums. I make a great living doing what I love.

What are your plans for the future?

I intend to finish filming a music documentary about Romanis in Poland. I would like to produce a musical with Ryszard Ulicki about Romanis. I want to open the Academy of Gypsy Arts and Culture in Ciechocinek – a music school for children and youths. I wish the majority population treated Romanis with respect and dignity rather than based on the prejudicial stereotypes. I am sure that our festival projects another image of Romanis and influences the general attitudes towards our minority group. Poles begin to distinguish decent Romanis from unrespectable Gypsies.

Life motto, credo, dreams...

I dream about better lives for both Romanis and Poles. I lament the grinding poverty among many people in Poland. Education is very important. I wish Roma parents had opportunity to provide their children with the best possible educational opportunities.