On Thursday afternoon the popular Straznice Slunce (Sun) folk festival gets underway in south Moravia. The Scottish 1960s star Donovan is headlining the opening night of the annual three-day festival on Thursday, and promises to play a mix of new songs and classic hits, such as Catch the Wind, Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow. Donovan was one of the major artists of the hippy era, and when Ian Willoughby spoke to him on Wednesday, he asked Donovan if he still retained his 1960s idealism.
"Yes. I'm still enthusiastic about my path in life. As one gets older one could possibly get bitter about certain things, but one tries to keep focused, the path is still here, the path is still the same. The industry of music has changed, but my new music I want to present in a complete new way, on DVD and on Internet radio, and so I'm very much excited about the new forms of communication."
You're playing at Straznice on Thursday; is it your first time in this country?
"No, I've played in a festival in Bratislava, it was a long time ago. And I've also visited Prague before the freedom, and I've also visited after. I have a very soft spot for Prague, because of all the cities after the Second World War, this one was not bombed and destroyed, and so the visual aspect of the city is so beautiful."
How was it for you coming back here after the revolution, to see the changes here - do you remember the impression you got?
"Oh yeah, now it feels much lighter (laughs) it was rather heavy then. We know what it was, the oppression was very extreme when I was...I felt very sorry for the people, and when I sang my song Living on Love on the television show here all those years ago, I felt I was bringing some light, some energy to the people."
One of the daftest songs I've ever heard was (your song) Intergalactic Laxative, which will get you from here to there. Do you ever regret that song, or does it make you laugh yourself now?
"Oh no, I love that song, I still sing it now and again. It was just showing the absolute ludicrous situation of trying to be a human in space. We may go anywhere in the universe but we will always take our problems with us, unless we solve them here on earth."
When you play are people as enthusiastic about your new songs or do they all want to hear Season of the Witch and Catch the Wind and so on?
"I'm very lucky because my fans want to hear my new material, but I obviously play my traditionally successful songs. And everybody loves a hit, they love a songs they know."
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