The sons of a respected classical music composer, the Eben brothers -Kryštof, Marek and David- grew up surrounded by music and musical instruments. They received an education in classical music, but sought inspiration from folk, jazz and rock as they searched for their own style of expression. They formed their first folk-rock band in the late 1970s and their ability to combine different music styles and musical instruments created the unique "Eben style“ which captivates audiences.
Mikuláš Bryan – alias Mr. Folxlide – is a Prague-born poet, award-winning translator of French literature, and musician steeped in blues and folk traditions. He plays on an American cigar box guitar, tuned to an open chord, adapting old time blues for balfolk dancing (“the ultimate balfolk-blues crossover”). This edition of the Sunday Music Show features tracks from Mr. Folxlide’s album “1-4-5”, sung in English and French, replete and resplendent with the “drone, ostinato and simple riffs” found in folk music around the globe.
Czech violinist and folk music singer Jitka Šuranská passed away this week at the age of 41. The three-time Anděl Award winner trained as a classical violinist, but she also became a star on the folk and world music scene, recording a series of albums with traditional folk music. She was hailed by her colleagues for pushing the genre in new creative directions.
Many Czechs remember the concert of American folk musician Joan Baez’s in Bratislava on 10 June 1989 as one of the signs of the approaching fall of communism. During the concert Baez openly expressed her support for Czechoslovak opposition groups and to Václav Havel, who managed to smuggle himself into the concert hall pretending to be a roadie. Her stay in Bratislava was closely observed by the communist State Security services, but they missed the Czechoslovak dissident who fit into his pretended role by carrying her guitar.
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
Karel Kryl, perhaps the greatest Czech protest singer ever, was born on this day 75 years ago. Kryl’s spare and highly poetic songs such as Bratříčku zavírej vrátka (Close the Gate, Little Brother), composed in the wake of the Soviet-led invasion of 1968, reflected the frustrations of many Czechoslovaks and remain popular to this day. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the folk artist’s premature death at the age of 49.