A new book about how the Communist authorities targeted young men with long hair in the 1960s was launched at the Open Air Festival in the east Bohemian town of Trutnov on Saturday. Entitled Vrat’te nám vlasy! (Give Us Our Hair Back!), it maps in detail how the Communists used the state security apparatus to repress long-haired men in 1966. At the launch, poet and former dissident Ivan Martin “Magor” Jirous, who spent 8.5 years in jail under communism, said the book described the pre-history of a group of alternative youths who later contributed to the launch of the Trutnov festival as an underground event in 1987.
A member of the audience committed suicide during a concert by the Czech musician Markéta Irglová and her group The Swell Season in the US city of Saratoga on Thursday night. The man jumped from the roof that covered the venue’s stage, landing on the podium and dying instantly. The band extended their sympathies to the victim’s family and friends in an internet post. Markéta Irglová and The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard won an Academy Award for best original song for their composition Falling Slowly in February 2008, just days before her 20th birthday. She is the only Czech woman to have ever won an Oscar.
The Welsh group Manic Street Preachers performed to thousands of fans at one of the Czech Republic’s biggest rock music events, the Open Air Music Festival in the east Bohemian town of Trutnov, on Friday night. Other performers included The Glitter Band and the Czech artists DG 307 and Michal Hrůza. The Trutnov festival first took place in 1987, two years before the fall of the communist regime. This year over 100 groups and solo musicians are performing on four stages over four nights.
The third annual Dvořák Prague Festival got underway in Prague on Friday with a performance of the composer’s New World Symphony by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the city’s Rudolfinum. The festival, which runs for two weeks, features 16 concerts, most of them at the same venue’s Dvořák Hall. All in all, 12 pieces by Antonín Dvořák are being performed; the programme also includes work by other composers.
Welcome to our first edition of Music Express, bringing you music and interviews with some of the Czech Republic’s brightest young stars and biggest names. Today: a group that first broke onto the scene just two-and-a-half years ago, called Airfare. Founded by Czech-American frontman Thomas Lichtag, now 23, the four-member band plays catchy, sometimes harder alternative rock, with all songs sung in English. The singer/guitarist came into the studio this week to discuss how the band got its start. He also talked about their first big hit Sorry Baby
On Thursday, Sázavafest kicked off in the Central Bohemian town of Kácov. Its site is located near the Sázava river, which provides both the name and the scenic backdrop for one of the country’s most popular music festivals. It drew some 20.000 visitors in 2009 and organizers are expecting a similar turn-out this year.
The 15th International Organ Festival got underway at Prague’s St James’ Basilica on Thursday night with a recital by the American organist John Scott. In a series of eight concerts over a month and a half, the city’s music lovers will have the chance to hear some of the world’s best players perform on greatest organ in the Czech capital.
The phenomenal Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia, will perform to a packed house at Prague’s Obecní dům on Tuesday evening. He will appear on stage with a six-member accompanying group, including singer Duquende and virtuoso dancer Farruco, the grandson of Romany dancer El Farruco, the founder of the legendary Andalusia dancing family. Paco de Lucia last performed in the Czech capital in 2207.
Daphne Carr is an American music expert and writer. The focus of her research is not classical but popular music, a field that only recently has warranted attention from academics. Carr’s passion for writing started within what is commonly referred to as the zine culture, zines being small and often underground publications that became popular in America in the 1980s and 1990s. She has stayed true to the underground and found a new favorite in the Czech Republic: the Plastic People of the Universe, who she learned about when she first came to Prague
The organisers of Tuesday’s concert of the American singer Pink in Prague’s Synot Tip Arena may pay a fine for exceeding noise limits. The Prague Hygienic Station said it registered noise levels 20 decibels higher than the permissible daytime rate, and the organising company, Live Nation, could thereby face a of hundreds of thousands of crowns. The station is also filing an administrative lawsuit against the venue itself, as it is zoned only as a sports stadium. The owners of the stadium have not commented on the matter. Live Nation has been fined 200,000 crowns for noise level violations at concerts of Madonna and Depeche Mode.
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