The legendary band Pražský výběr – one of the most influential bands from the Czech New Wave – are back. Recently the group, led by frontman Michael Kocáb announced they would put aside past differences and reunite for a series of concerts in the autumn.
Pražský výběr broke up six years ago in a dispute over the band name rights between singer-composer (later turned politician) Michael Kocáb and guitarist Michal Pavlíček: both now have decided to bury the hatchet and bring back the group. In the 1980s, Pražský výběr was largely banned from performing in Communist Czechoslovakia but its members are not only widely-recognised for their strong message and lyrics but also - unlike numerous underground bands from the era – for their excellence as musicians. A small reunion tour was in fact a wish of late president Václav Havel’s, who once joked that it would be easier to get the Israelis and Palestinians together than this. Michael Kocáb spoke to Czech TV:
“He wrote us a beautiful letter in which he said ‘C’mon guys, get back together, forget what divides you, at least for a little while.’”
The reunion will bring back the band in its complete original line-up more than 30 years after the group was founded: not just Messrs. Kocáb and Pavlíček but also bass guitarist Vílem Čok, and drummers Klaudius Kryšpín and Jiří Hrubeš. Five concerts, will take place in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Pardubice and the Slovak capital of Bratislava between November 11 and 24 – coinciding with the 23rd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that brought the band (like their fellow Czechs and Slovaks) freedom. Songs performed will be off of Pražský výběr’s first album Straka v hrsti (A Magpie in the Hand), recorded back in 1982 but banned by the Communists and released only in 1988. The album includes legendary material such as Hrabě X and Pražakům je hej.
The concerts are certain to attract a lot of attention among both new and long time fans who will no doubt appreciate the opportunity to see the legendary band once again.