The US duo Dálava, consisting of vocalist Julia Úlehla and guitarist Aram Bajakian, explores traditional Moravian folk songs collected by Úlehla’s great-grandfather, blending them with more contemporary, indie-rock sound. We are going to listen to their second album, called the Book of Transfigurations, which was released in April 2017.
The Ride of the Kings – a unique and colourful tradition practiced in only four south-east Moravian villages took place in the village of Hluk on Sunday. The ride refers to the flight of Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus from Czech King George of Podébrady in the 15th century and involves a festive ride through the village with a boy portraying the monarch dresses in a traditional women’s folk costume to ‘mask’ his identity. The event which involves months of preparations end with a big celebration, dancing, drinking and merrymaking. The Ride of the Kings is on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.
Jan Dismas Zelenka is considered one of the most significant baroque composers, yet his music had been largely forgotten after his death and was only rediscovered 150 years later by the composer Bedřich Smetana. Today, each new discovery of Zelenka’s previously unknown works is a sensation of its kind. His Easter Mass, or Missa Paschalis, composed in 1726, saw its modern-day premiere just a few years ago, when it was performed by Prague’s Ensemble Inégal.
Carnival celebrations have been taking place all around the Czech Republic in recent days to mark the approaching end of winter and the beginning of the fasting period of Lent. Although Masopust is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country, one thing they all have in common is the procession of masks. Radio Prague paid a visit to a small company in Zákupy, North Bohemia, which has been making traditional carnival masks for more than 130 years:
Mardi Gras celebrations have been taking place around the country ahead of Ash Wednesday. The Czech Republic may be one of the most secular countries in Europe but Czechs love to observe traditions and while few people are likely to fast during the 40 day Lent period they celebrate Mardi Gras (or Masopust as it is called in Czech) with a vengeance.
The Czech Republic has been marking “masopust” or the traditional Czech carnival which comes before the fasting period of Lent. Processions of people wearing colorful masks and costumes on Saturday marched through a number of villages and towns across the country, celebrating the beginning of Lent, which is traditionally accompanied by a zabijačka or pig-slaughter. One of the biggest event took place in the town of Roztoky u Prahy, with more than two thousand people attending the costumed parade to nearby Únětice.
Czech folk legend Jarmila Šuláková, who died this week at the age of 87, brought Moravian folk music to audiences around the world. The „queen of folk“ sang from the heart as she liked to say and she had the same esprit at 30 as she did at 80, singing both with traditional folk ensembles as well as the folk-rock group Fleret which opened the world of folk music to younger audiences. In the course of a career spanning more than six decades she recorded over a dozen albums and performed thousands of concerts at home and abroad.
The great Moravian folk singer Jarmila Šuláková has died at the age of 87. Šuláková, who was born and passed away in Vsetín, performed with a number of folk groups over a long career. She sang with the Brno Radio Orchestra of Folk Instruments from 1952 to 1993, travelling throughout Czechoslovakia and to many corners of the world with the ensemble in full Wallachian folk costume.
In most respects 2016 was a good year for tourism not least in the Czech capital, which saw yet another increase in the number of visitors. But there were complications as well, among them heightened security introduced at Prague Castle mid-season which led to unexpected and unprecedented lines, at least for a time. Still, on the whole, Prague offers more and better possibilities than ever, something Radio Prague discussed with the head of Prague City Tourism, Nora Dolanská. We began by asking her first how she rated 2016 overall.