Long before the term world music became widely used the brother-and sister duo Petr and Hana Ulrychovi played Moravian folk songs with electric guitars. Later, in search of a more authentic sound, they introduced acoustic instruments as well. The band Javory, which they established 45 years ago, is still going strong largely because of their ability to merge different genres and present Moravian folk songs in a different light, making them attractive to a younger audience. This year Hana and Petr are celebrating 55 years on stage and more than 30
The classic Czech sci-fi film Ikarie XB1 looks set to find fresh audiences with a new Blu-ray release next week. A number of major figures in the history of Czech cinema were involved in the making of the black and white movie, which prefigured Western releases such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.
Prague’s biggest movie event, Febiofest, kicks off on Thursday. Now in its 26th year, the festival gives many movies set for local cinema distribution their first screenings but also showcases scores of works that film buffs would otherwise have trouble tracking down. Ahead of Febiofest’s curtain-raiser, I asked its co-programme director Anna Kopecká what this year’s highlights were likely to be.
Japanese professor of architecture Yoshio Sakurai has over the past twelve years visited every building ever realised by Adolf Loos, the Brno-born pioneer of European Modern architecture in the early 20th century. A sketchbook and camera in hand, Prof. Sakurai was on a mission that has now been fulfilled: to create exact scale models of Loos’s best works.
John Lennon’s wall in Prague, which features a wide array of thematic street art, is a popular destination for tourists and a symbolic site of Czech opposition to the communist regime. Now its surface features a whole array of new pieces. Thanks to a special event organised on the occasion of the 30 Years of Freedom, 20 artists from a multitude of countries added their artwork carrying messages of peace.
The Leipzig Book Fair, one of the most important literary events in the world, gets underway in the East German city this week with the Czech Republic as the main guest of honour. The Czech program will be part of the Czech Year of Culture launched in the city in October last year, celebrating the country’s literature, film, photography, music and design.
Věra Bílá died of a heart attack this week, days before her scheduled comeback tour. The Roma singer, who was widely regarded as a great talent and once sang to sold out audiences across the world, spent the last years of her life heavily in debt and living in a lodging house. Since her death, many have said that her songs will forever live on as exceptional examples of the world music genre.
The legendary pianist Alfred Brendel will come to Prague this weekend to take part in a three-day festival organised in his honour. The Czech-born musician, considered to be one of the world’s greatest living pianists, will present his books, give a master class and lecture on the art of playing Mozart. The event gets underway at Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall on Sunday.