Folk singer Karel Kryl died ten years ago

05-03-2004

Ten years ago, on March 3rd, 1994, just four years after the collapse of communist rule, one of the icons of anti-communist resistance died at the age of fifty. Folk singer Karel Kryl emigrated from Czechoslovakia after the Soviet occupation but clandestine copies of his records circulated among people till the very end of the communist regime.

Both Bedrich Smetana and Karel Kryl were born and died in a year which ended on the digit "4". The tenth anniversary of Kryl's death and the sixtieth anniversary of his birth are being celebrated at several venues in Prague as part of the Year of Czech Music project.

Captivating tunes and thoughtful lyrics - that's how Karel Kryl's protest songs can be described in short. Probably the best-known was his album "Bratricku, zavirej vratka" or "Close the Gate, Little Brother" protesting against the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. The album, just like many other works of art at that time was banned, and its author left Czechoslovakia for Germany. In exile, Karel Kryl worked as a presenter at Radio Free Europe in Munich.

During the enthusiastic November days in 1989, Karel Kryl returned to Czechoslovakia only to experience bitter disappointment with the transformation of society. On March 3, 1994, just a month before his fiftieth birthday, Karel Kryl died of a heart attack.

To commemorate the two important anniversaries, the birth and death of Czech folk singer and poet Karel Kryl, a new edition of his 1970 album "Maskary" is being published in a re-mastered version.