The Jonathan Crossley Band is what you get when you ask two Czechs and three South Africans to make a mixture of rock and jazz. The outcome is being warmly received by crowds from Prague to Pretoria. Since they formed a year and a half ago, the group has toured Europe, Africa and beyond and, on a recent trip to Johannesburg - part funded by the Czech Foreign Ministry - the band recorded its first album, called ‘Got Funk, Will Travel’.
An interactive exhibition which is to open at the Jewish Museum in Prague on Thursday promises visitors a chance to revive a centuries’ old legend. A sculpture by the famous Czech artist Petr Nikl invites people to try to figure out the right symbol or word which would breathe life into the famous Prague Golem – a legendary giant allegedly created by the 16th century rabbi Loew.
The Plastic People of the Universe are known around the world for their refusal to comply with the Czechoslovak communist authorities throughout the 1970s and 1980s - and their particular brand of Czech psychedelic rock as well. In recent years, former band member Ivan Bierhanzl and filmmaker Keith Jones have embarked upon an ambitious project to sort through the hours and hours of historic footage of the group to make a series of DVDs dedicated to the ‘Plastici’, but not, necessarily, as you know them.
The Catalonian musician Jordi Savall has been a major force in the promotion of early music for some forty years now and has been the key figure in bringing some ancient instruments out of the museum and back to the stage, particularly the viola da gamba. One of the star performers of this year’s Prague Spring International Music Festival, Mr Savall and his three ensembles have recorded well over a hundred records and scored a number of films, including the acclaimed 1995 film All the Mornings of the World, which won him a César award, the French
The 62nd annual Cannes film festival has come to a close and things couldn’t have gone better for Czech filmmakers. First, young filmmaker Zuzana Špidlová’s 21-minute short feature Bába was voted best film in the Cinefondation section, recognising young new talent; and the seasoned Czech documentary filmmaker Helena Třeštíková clinched the Media European Talent award.
Wolves in Poland, Shakespeare in Japan and the pitfalls of literary translation. These are just three of the many subjects that came up when I visited to the Bookworld international book fair in Prague last week. Bookworld is a huge and diverse event, by far the biggest of its kind in the Czech Republic. It would be impossible to cover everything that was going on, even during the few hours that I was there, but here at least is a taste of the event.
An exhibition of works by Britain’s Damien Hirst has just opened at Prague’s Rudolfinum. He is the richest living artist the world has ever seen, and perhaps best known for placing dead animals in formaldehyde and covering a human skull in diamonds. The new show is curated by Gunnar Kvaran from the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo. At its opening, I asked him what it was about Damien Hirst that made him such an art superstar.