This week’s Sunday Music Show is devoted to Karel Svoboda one of the country’s most prolific composers, the author of countless hit-songs, well-known scores for films, musicals, TV series and theatre productions. Although the man himself was never centre stage several generations of Czechs grew up with his music and people still hum many of his evergreens.
Nothing better symbolizes the political thaw in 1960s Czechoslovakia than the boom in jazz, which many saw as embodying the very idea of individual expression and freedom from constraint. It is not hard to imagine the excitement when Louis Armstrong came to Prague in March 1965. Many people felt that Czechoslovakia had at last come in from the cold, and his concert at Prague’s Lucerna Ballroom was a cultural milestone. It ended with Satchmo thanking his audience, commenting that the Czech passion for jazz had come as quite a surprise to him.
Petr Novák's unmistakeable, delicate tenor voice is synonymous with Czechoslovak society of the late 1960s. This talented musician shot to fame in this country at the time of the Prague Spring, when his gentle love songs influenced by Western pop groups like The Beatles were hugely popular among young Czechs. His success during this era, however, proved to be short-lived and his career subsequently stagnated under the influence of communist repression and his own problems with alcohol.
Hradišťan is one of the country’s most respected interprets of folk music. The band started as a folk music ensemble in the south Moravian town of Uherské Hradiště – hence the name – in the 1950s but its rise to popularity and critical acclaim began when Jiří Pavlica became the band’s leader, or primáš, in the 1970s.
In last week’s From the Archives we featured Martin Luther King, interviewed by Czechoslovak Radio in 1963. But Dr King was not the first civil rights campaigner to address Czech and Slovak radio listeners. Four years earlier, in June 1959, Paul Robeson came to Prague, to take part in an international left-wing cultural congress. Robeson was a man of many talents – singer, actor, athlete, writer and civil rights activist. He never concealed his sympathies with the communist regimes of the Eastern Bloc, and his political views – combined with the
Anyone familiar with the Czech electronic and dance music scene will have come across the work of Jitka Charvátová, also known as Ji, the charismatic and talented former singer for cutting edge groups like Skyline and the late Milan Hlavsa’s 1990s band Fiction. Now Jitka has reset her career with a recently released but already highly-lauded new solo album called Feed My Lion, featuring 8-bit, electro pop and elements of hip hop.
In today’s programme we feature music by the hard rock and thrashmetal group Kabát, who have left a Godzilla-sized footprint on the Czech music scene. To date, the band headed by charismatic frontman Pepa Vojtek, has sold hundreds of thousands of albums and remains a major draw for fans of heavier music.
Organisers have confirmed that American hard rock band Metallica will perform in Prague for the first time in four years during the European leg of their current tour. The concert is to take place on May 7 at an arena in the city’s Vršovice district, Petr Novák of Live Nation confirmed. The opening act is to be a French hard rock group called Gojira (the Japanese name for the sci-fi movie monster Godzilla). Metallica will reportedly play material from the famous ‘black album’ to mark the 20+ years since its release. The album features some of the group’s best known material including the songs Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters.
In today’s edition of our Sunday Music Show we listen to more than 20 years of “avant-punk” band Už Jsme Doma. Though the band has gone through countless transformations in that time, it still remains one of the most innovative sounds on the Czech music scene and a heavy influence for new generations of Czech artists.
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