Robi Botos is a Hungarian-Canadian composer and pianist. He was born in Nyiregyhaza (Hungary) in 1978 to a musical Romani family. He began his musical career when he was a child, starting with drums and percussion and moving on to the piano at the age of seven. Within one year, he was already playing professionally throughout Hungary.
Owing to the ongoing persecution of Roma in Hungary, Robi emigrated with his wife and children to Canada, where they applied for refugee status as Hungarian Roma and eventually were granted permanent residence. Botos addresses the issue of the oppression of Roma in many of his songs and other works (he wrote the score for which documents the Romani Holocaust).
In Toronto, Botos attracted the attention of the legendary pianist Oscar Peterson, who became his mentor and had a significant influence on Botos’s technique and improvisation style. Beside this influence, Botos draws on the deep traditions of Romani, Hungarian and European folk and art music. His fusion of these styles with North American bebop, hard bop and modern jazz has resulted in a formidable, unsurpassed sound.
Robi recorded several albums as a bandleader and participated in many other musical projects. His live performances have earned him international recognition, and he has won numerous competitions around the world.