Preparations are being completed across the Czech Republic for what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest cultural events of the year. Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of perhaps the country’s greatest poet, Karel Hynek Mácha. We take a look at the dozens of international, national and regional events being planned.
Few Czech rock bands have gained such notoriety as the Prague-based group Jasná Páka. Founded at the beginning of the last decade of communism, their music was a beacon for a generation that grew up in a Soviet-occupied country. After it was banned by the Communists in a crusade against rock music, the band reformed as Hudba Praha. The man behind both bands, Michal Ambrož, is one of the last pioneers of Czech new wave of rock still around.
Officials from the Central Bohemian region bought a rare 15th century miniature at auction at Sotheby’s in London on Tuesday. The artwork, depicting silver mining in the Bohemia town of Kutná Hora, eventually went for over half a million pounds sterling, and is set to be the most important piece at a newly established gallery there.
Today in Mailbox we reveal the identity of November’s mystery man and announce the names of the four winners who will receive Radio Prague souvenirs for their correct answers. Listeners quoted: Tracy Andreotti, Colin Law, Henrik Klemetz, Yuri Nikolaev, Barbara Ziemba, Gordon Martindale, David Eldridge, Charles Konecny, Yukiko Maki, Ian Morrison, Uday Nayak.
Barbara Day works for a non-profit organization called The Prague Society, promoting international links in business, politics and academia. Twenty-five years ago, Barbara was doing a job that, at least on the surface, seems very similar. Then based in London, she was coordinating visits by Western academics to Czechoslovakia. But times could hardly have been more different. In those days, such initiatives were seen by the communist regime as a subversive activity. Constantly harangued by Czechoslovakia’s secret police – the StB – visiting lecturers, including
The list of those who have stayed at the Chelsea Hotel in the New York district of the same name reads like a kind of Who’s Who of 20th century western culture: Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Tennessee Williams, William Burroughs, Sid Vicious, Arthur Miller, Gore Vidal, Jack Kerouac, Brendan Behan, Miloš Forman, Robert Crumb. I could go on for a lot, lot longer.
Film versions of fairytales are hugely popular in the Czech Republic, with the likes of Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella, The Golden-Star Princess and Once There was a King staples of the television schedules around Christmas time. Many of the best loved film fairytales were made during the communist era at Prague’s famous Barrandov studios. A year ago, an exhibition organized in collaboration with Barrandov for the first time gave Czech fairytale fanatics a chance to take a peek at the original costumes used in their favorite films. This year, another
This year marks the 60 year anniversary of the famous children’s books publisher Albatros, which had a monopoly on the market before the end of communism in 1989 and remains to this day the publisher of the most popular titles in children’s literature. As part of the anniversary, an exhibition in the Prague National Library gives children a chance to experience the adventurous world of their favorite cartoon characters firsthand.
It was the literary sensation of the season, but now it has turned out to be little more than a hoax. The novel ‘Bílej kůň, žlutej drak’ (‘White Horse, Yellow Dragon’) by a young Vietnamese girl living in the Czech Republic won a prestigious literary prize for first-time authors and was hailed by the critics as the first testimony of her generation. But in fact the first Vietnamese novel was written by a middle-aged Czech man. Ruth Fraňková has more:
In 1977, a mailman, a math analyst and an actor got together to make some rather strange and wonderful music. Jablkoň, as they called the band, started off playing gigs in places around Prague that didn’t insist on specific genres. For as you’ll hear in today’s Music Profile, Jablkoň’s music rather defies easy explanation; a brand of distinctive folk blended with jazz, rock and more that’s often called world music. Except when it isn’t…