There's a lot of singing and dancing in the streets of the Czech capital these days in addition to the Khamoro Festival of Romany Culture and Music, there's another outdoor festival underway - the multi-ethnic folklore festival -which is a colourful display of the songs, dances and traditional dresses of 14 nations, among them India, Greece, Senagal and Cuba.
Since the Czechs joined the European Union on May 1st questions over Roma identity, tradition, and roles in civil society have become more apt than ever in the Czech Republic and abroad, questions experts and Roma representatives aim to tackle in a series of week-long discussions in Prague. The discussions will be part of the 6th annual Khamoro Festival now underway, a festival that has become the byword for the celebration of Roma culture and music.
Six years ago Prague witnessed the opening of Mecca, a venue that has become one of the most influential dance clubs in the city. Found in Prague's mostly industrial Holesovice district, Mecca focuses primarily on DJ parties and House music. Last week, for instance, it played host to Germany's famous Milk N Sugar, who "let a bit of the sunshine in". It was either be there or be square for those into the club scene.
2004 is the Year of Czech Music and the Prague Spring International Music Festival has taken that into account, concentrating on the world-renowned Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. During the festival Prague audiences will get to hear all nine of Dvorak's symphonies, including the rather underestimated first four symphonies. The festival always concludes with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 but this year's closing concert on June 2nd will feature Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" instead.
Pavel Zajicek is a contemporary Czech legend. Now in his early fifties, he is a poet, musician and artist, and although he prefers not to use the term, he was at the very heart of Prague's underground scene in the 1970s, when the regime was slowly and systematically paring away at all the reforms of the decade before.
Leos Janacek's Glagolitic Mass was composed in 1926. One of the great choral works of the 20th century, it is sung on special occasions and is a big challenge even for a Czech choir. However the Manchester Halle choir passed the test with flying colours on Sunday, after weeks of gruelling work and coaching from Karel Janovicky, a well known Czech composer residing in London. We asked Mr. Janovicky what difficulties the choir faced in the process of tackling this choral masterpiece.
After picking up a love of France from her grandfather, who worked as a miner there, Iva Fruehlingova moved to Paris at just 14 to try her luck in the world of modelling. Success - and big contracts - followed, before Iva, who is now 21, decided to try something else she'd always wanted to do: singing. Her first CD, mostly in French but with one song in Czech, has made the charts in France and Belgium, and has recently been released here in the Czech Republic. It's called "Litvinov", after her home town in north Bohemia. Iva Fruehlingova told her
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