UK rock band release single in Czech about 1942 assassination of Heydrich

06-04-2004

This Thursday the English rock band British Sea Power - who have an affection for all things Czech - are playing a concert at the Roxy club in Prague at which they will be launching a new single that will only be available in the Czech Republic. The song "A Lovely Day Tomorrow/Zitra Bude Krasny Den" appears in both English and Czech on the limited edition release, with both versions sung by Katerina Winterova of the Czech band Ecstasy of St Theresa.

British Sea PowerBritish Sea Power What makes the single especially interesting is the subject matter: it must be the first pop song ever about the assassination of the Nazi "protector" of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich. As the daring mission took place in 1942, only 1,942 numbered copies are being released.

On the phone from Brighton, Roy Wilkinson, the manager of British Sea Power, told me the group had become fascinated by this important moment in Czech history.

"It's concerned with a particular bit of Czech history in 1942 - although the lyrics are quite gentle and quite oblique - it is intended to be about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.

"I think they actually saw a documentary on television about this item of Czech history and just found it very moving really, the idea of these people - I think there was a Czech and a Slovak guy - who were serving in the British Army and were nominated to carry out this mission.

"The group seem very taken by this, just the selflessness and the almost casual air with which these two men undertook this mission."

Group members Hamilton and Noble have been to the Czech Republic a number of times, visiting Prague and camping in Cesky Raj, or Czech Paradise, in northeast Bohemia. Roy Wilkinson says they are big fans of Czech beer and Czech literature, especially Bohumil Hrabal and Jaroslav Hasek.

"Hamilton and Noble are quite keen on those, and in particular there was a biography of Hasek by an English man who had connections, a guy called Sir Cecil Parrott, a biography of Hasek, and that's just a fascinating book.

"There are stories about him allegedly breeding werewolves for sale. I think he used to capture dogs and do them up a bit, cut their fur and paint them up a bit and sell them as werewolves. Apparently people bought them as well."

You can find out more about the band at www.britishseapower.co.uk Thursday's concert also features the Czech group Ecstasy of St Theresa - www.eost.cz

06-04-2004