Barrel organ players and street artists from the Czech Republic and beyond gathered in Prague earlier this month for the annual festival Flašinet žije! (The barrel organ is alive!), organised by the National Museum. I went along to talk to some of the organ grinders to learn more about the history of the mechanical instrument and their passion for it.
A unique festival dedicated to Gustav Mahler and later Jewish composers interned by Nazi Germany in a north Bohemian ghetto gets underway this Sunday. Organised by the Eternal Hope foundation and the Terezín Composers’ Institute, the aim is to celebrate the work of brilliant composers whose lives were cut tragically short.
The 20th annual Špilberk International Music Festival gets underway on
Wednesday evening with a ‘Romantic Carnival’ performed by the Brno
Philharmonic. The open-air festival, held in the courtyard of the city’s
iconic Špilberk Castle, lasts until August 22nd.
On Thursday, the acclaimed New York band The Klezmatics will be performing traditional Jewish folk music with a modern twist. Next Wednesday, the festival pays tribute to the late director Miloš Forman, featuring music from his films, including Valmont, Loves of a Blonde, Amadeus and Hair.
The Špilberk festival closes with a joint concert of the host Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and Janoska Ensemble of Slovak and Austrian musicians.
The Moravian metropolis is hosting the 28th International Guitar Festival
Brno featuring flamenco, jazz as well as classical music.
The week-long festival offers visitors seven concerts as well as masterclasses by leading guitarists and a competition for talented musicians.
The main competition prize is a guitar by Masaki Sakurai.
Among this years’ participants are David Carmon, Ana Latorre, Maria Linnemann, Sieggfried Steingolder, Paul Galbraith, Nikita Koshkin and Marco Battaglia.
Michael Kocáb has been active in politics (he oversaw the withdrawal of Russian troops from Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s) and business. However, he is best known as the leader of the rock group Pražský výběr, who were banned by the Communists in the 1980s before becoming a major live draw the following decade. Kocáb was the band’s singer and songwriter and, following the departure of the other founding members, now heads Pražský výběr II. He turned 65 on Sunday.
This week one of the country’s most famous annual music festivals, Colours of Ostrava, took place in the largest city of Czech Silesia. This year the festival boasted some truly major artists, including the legendary rock band The Cure, as well as Florence + The Machine, Rag’n’Bone Man and Mogwai. While the festival’s international line-up made it attractive to wide audiences, many of the country’s leading musicians also performed at the event. In this week’s Sunday Music Show we introduce you to some of their most famous tracks.
The 17th annual Masters of Rock festival, the biggest rock and metal event in the Czech Republic, gets underway in Vizovice in south Moravia on Thursday evening. Among the headliners of this year’s edition will be the British heavy rock band Uriah Heep, which returns to the festival after 12 years. The organizers expect over 20,000 visitors from all over the world.
The open-air festival Rock for People gets underway on Thursday at the
former military airfield near Hradec Králové in east Bohemia. Among the
headliners this year are the British bands Manic Street Preachers, Franz
Ferdinand and Bring Me the Horizon.
Now in its 25th year, Rock for People is one of the biggest music events of its kind in the Czech Republic, with over 100 bands, musicians and DJs performing over the course of the next three days.
Olomouc-based independent band Nylon Jail display their ability to rock out to the full on their latest LP, Irreversible Changes. On the record core members Jiřin Jirák and Roman Vičík (who split up a few years ago, only to reform) are joined musicians from the groups OTK, Priessnitz and Muff, as well as a girls’ choir. Nylon Jail were due to play on the Radio Wave stage at Prague’s Metronome music festival on Saturday as one of the contenders in this year’s edition of the Czeching competition.