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
Pop star Miro Žbirka, nicknamed Meky, is one of Slovakia’s and the Czech Republic’s best-known recording artists, still producing music after more than 30 years. In the 1980s he bumped Karel Gott off his perch as Czechoslovakia’s top singer and even had the opportunity to record in then-West Germany. Fans will no doubt be excited about this week’s release of Like a Hero – The Best of Miro, Žbirka’s re-mastering of his greatest hits a remarkable project which was first recorded in English in Germany in the ‘80s.
This month marks exactly 50 years since the first performance at Divadlo Na Zábradlí, a theatre which has become famous mainly for staging former President Václav Havel’s plays. To mark the anniversary, the theatre has prepared a number of special events both for its former employees and its spectators.
In this edition of Music Profile we look back at one of the most successful Czech bands of the 1990s, the rock group Lucie. Founded by singer/guitarist Robert Kodym together with bass guitarist Petr Chovanec (P.B.CH), Lucie’s success was unrivalled, with the band filling stadiums like no other in the years following the Velvet Revolution. From the early 90s up until 2002 the band was incredibly productive. Their songs remain instantly recognisable to most Czech listeners and still get tons of radio play.
The rock band Tindersticks are currently promoting their latest album The Hungry Saw on a European tour that takes them to Prague’s Archa theatre next Wednesday. For the group’s David Boulter the Prague show will be something of a homecoming, as the English-born piano-player and keyboardist has been living here in the Czech capital for the last decade.
In the first verdict of its kind in this country, a court has ruled that Support Lesbiens’ 2002 hit ‘In Da Yard’ plagiarised a song written by singer Jan Kalousek nearly a decade earlier. Support Lesbiens – one of the biggest bands in this country – say that they are dismayed by the verdict, but that the song in question will continue to be played.
A rare collection of stamps bearing the likeness of French Emperor Napoleon has gone on exhibit at the Slavkov (or Austerlitz) Chateau on the anniversary of the Battle of the Three Emperors. In 1805 Napoleon routed Russian and Austrian forces at Austerlitz, cementing what is regarded as Napoleon’s greatest triumph. The collection, which features some 1,000 stamps from around the world, was bought by the chateau following the death of the collection’s original owner.
My guest for this week’s One on One is the man behind the Prague Fringe, Steven Gove. For many years, Steven has been working in his native Scotland at the Edinburgh Fringe, and is now on the board of directors of what is said to be the biggest arts festival in the world. A few years ago, he came up with the idea of bringing a bit of this creative chaos to the Czech capital, where he is now based. Sitting at his dinner table in Prague’s leafy Vinohrady, Steven told me why: