Dragan Jevremović was born in Ibarska Slatina (Albanian: Sllatinë), Kosovo (at the time Serbia) in 1946. He grew up in Baljevac na Ibru (Serbia) at a time when Kalderash who had obtained a trade licence were still allowed to ply an itinerant trade in their traditional handicraft professions as smiths and tinkers. Dragan Jevremović learned such a trade thoroughly when he was still very young and developed artistic skills as copper-, silver- and goldsmith.
Apart from his activities as a visual artist, he writes literary texts and poems. In 1970, he went to Austria as a migrant worker and worked for decades in the metal-processing industry. His family settled permanently in Vienna. In 1991 Dragan Jevremović was among the founders of the Romani association ‘Romano Centro’ and served for years as its executive secretary and, later, chairman. In the early 2000s, he was Chairman of the Parliament of the International Romani Union.
His repertory as a narrator of fairy tales, stories and, above all, amusing anecdotes is huge, as he himself explains:
‘Ašundem ande kodja vrjama, kana nas amen aver so te ašunas, kana nas amen aver so te dikhas, kana nas televizija, nas radio, nas aver khêlimata. […] Kê numa atunč paramičasa šaj kamas nakhaves e vrjama, te na źas te sovas.’ (Fennesz-Juhasz et al. 2012: 398).
[‘I heard them at the time when we had nothing to watch or listen to, when there was no television, no radio, no other entertainment. […]. At that time, we wanted to spend our time only listening to and telling stories so that we would not have to go to bed.’]
Jevremović tells us that there were no professional, paid storytellers among his people, but certain storytellers were preferred over others. The way they spoke, their gestures, their acting in half-staged performances were important elements of good storytelling. For this reason, Dragan Jevremović is highly esteemed as a storyteller in his community.
Fennesz-Juhasz, Christian; Cech, Petra; Heinschink, Mozes F.; Halwachs, Dieter W. (eds.). 2012. Lang ist der Tag, kurz die Nacht: Märchen und Erzählungen der Kalderaš / Baro o djes, cîni e rjat: Paramiča le Kaldêrašengê. Klagenfurt: Drava Verlag, pp. 399–456, 487–505, 521.
Fennesz-Juhasz, Christiane; Heinschink, Mozes. 2011. »Ich habe gesehen, wie die Suppe gekocht wird«: Ein Gespräch mit Dragan Jevremović / »Dikhlem, sar ćiradjol e zumi«: Divano le Draganosa. In: Romano Centro 70: 14–17.