In this edition of Sunday Music we'll be playing some of the best known songs by popular Czech singer Petr Hapka, who passed away last week at the age of just 70. Hapka worked closely with a number of lyricists but with none more closely than Michal Horáčeck. Together they produced some of the best known hits in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s.
I decided it was time to update my profile picture on Facebook and I needed to go to the Lennon Wall to do that. As a study abroad student in Prague, I didn’t go to the Lennon Wall during the first month I was here, like everyone else in my program, because at first, I didn’t think it was worth it. I would see the pictures on social media with the typical John Lennon quotes to accompany them, but to me, it wasn’t a big deal.
The poet, playwright and novelist Irena Eliášová spent her early childhood in a Romany village in south-western Slovakia. The memory of this time has become the defining experience in her writing. But Irena does not write just about the lost world of her childhood in the 1950s and 60s. She has also written powerfully and poignantly about the life of Roma in the Czech Republic today. Yet even when she writes about the present, her work is permeated with a sense of family and community that also draws us back to an older world of Roma tradition. David
The 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, celebrated earlier this week, was marked not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. On Sunday, for example, the Czech Philharmonic headed by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, played its final North American date in New York at none other than Carnegie Hall, performing Antonín Dvořák’s From the New World Symphony, written during his stay in America.
For Semafor is a unique album initiated by the Czech music journalist Pavel Klusák on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the legendary Semafor Theatre in 2009. It features 20 cover versions of the most famous hits by Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr interpreted by some of the best known Czech indie bands, such as Květy, OTK or Ecstasy of Saint Theresa.
Gary Keith Griffin is currently in Prague presenting his new Czech-language movie Listopad (November), which explores the Velvet Revolution from the perspective of young participants in the street demonstrations of that time. Griffin also had personal experience to draw on, having himself been in the city as those historic events were unfolding at the end of 1989. When we met on Národní St., where the revolution began on November 17 that year, I asked the Oscar-winning cameraman what he had found when he arrived in Prague on an NBC news