In a recent edition of Czech Books, we spoke to the Romany writer, Irena Eliášová. She mentioned that her novel, November, had been published earlier this year by an internet publisher. This inspired David Vaughan to find out more about Romany writing in the digital age, and he discovered that Czech Roma have embraced the social media in a big way.
A one-of-a-kind instrument called raketon made its first public appearance three years ago in a museum exhibit, but this week it had its debut in a contemporary classical music concert, together with Prague’s Berg Orchestra. I had a chance to speak to Raketon’s inventor Michal Cimala and to composer Jakub Rataj who mastered this simple and elegant instrument and wrote the first orchestral piece that includes it. Both of them perform on the raketon as well by plucking, striking and touching its two strings with bows, mallets and even milk
Employees at the country’s highly-respected National Theatre can expect a little extra next year when it comes to their monthly paychecks. Funds, allowing for a salary rise for the institution’s employees, were agreed recently by the country’s finance minister, Andrej Babiš, and Culture Minister Daniel Herman. At the same time, it is clear that salary bump, long-term, is being seen as not enough.
In the late 1980s, the city of Brno boasted a vibrant rock scene with one of its major fixtures being the band Dunaj. The group formed in 1987 by the singer Iva Bittová, drummer Pavel Fajt and other renowned musicians, and went on to release four studio albums before their eventual break-up a decade later. Dunaj, whose music style has been described as intense and challenging, had a lasting influence on the Czech indie scene of the 1990s.
Adam Štěch writes for the leading Czech design magazine Dolce Vita, as well as high-end international outlets like the website Coolhunting and Mark magazine. He also takes part in projects around Europe as part of the Okolo design collective, which produces an impressive magazine of its own. Our tour of “Adam Štěch’s Prague” begins downtown on the plaza beside the National Theatre and behind the institution’s futuristic New Stage building.
Nika Kupyrova has traversed Europe from East to West and back. Born in Ukraine and having grown up in Prague, she went on to study art in Edinburgh and Iceland. Now Nika lives and works in Vienna, and partly in Prague, creating installations and photographs of dream-like creatures and spaces. Currently, the young artist has an installation at the Windows Gallery in Vienna - the new art space of the Czech Center in Austria.
The sorry state of hundreds of Czech historical buildings and other registered landmarks has prompted a radical proposal. Deputy Czech ombudsman Stanislav Křeček has suggested that regardless of who owns a monument the authorities should pay for its renovation – and then demand that the owner foots the bill. In the most severe cases, the state should be able to confiscate the properties.
Communist Party deputy chairman Jiří Dolejš is perhaps not somebody one would expect to be a fan of The Plastic People of the Universe, an underground rock band persecuted in the 1970s and ‘80s by the Communist regime. Some of his followers are angry after Mr. Dolejš posted their photo on his Facebook page and have slammed the group in language reminiscent of pre-1989 propaganda.
Last year the placing of pianos in public places became a huge hit in Prague and other Czech cities. Now the man behind the project, Ondřej Kobza, has made a fresh move – on Monday the urban activist and café owner unveiled a public chess table at Prague’s Náměstí Míru, with other sites are set to follow soon.