05-09-2004

In this week's edition: final Czech tally from the Athens Olympics; Radio Prague's monthly competition. Listeners quoted: Muhammad Shamim, Marnix Barbiers, Christopher Keen, Nathan Harpelle.

The new school year has started and all the kids are back from their summer holidays. So are the Czech athletes who returned from the Athens Summer Olympic Games with eight medals. Which answers the question sent to us by Mr Muhammad Shamim from India.

The final Czech tally is one gold medal for Roman Sebrle in the decathlon. Three silver medals were won by Lenka Smidova in sailing's Europe category, Lenka Hykova in the 25m pistol shooting and the team of Tomas Karas, Jakub Hanak, David Jirka and David Kopriva in the men's coxless quadruple sculls. Czechs also won four bronze medals: Libor Capalini in the modern pentathlon, Jaroslav Baba in the high jump, Katerina Kurkova in the 10-metre air rifle and Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek in the two-man kayak slalom. As a nation, the Czech Republic came 42nd in the Athens games.

 

And now let's go straight to Radio Prague's competition for the month of August. Before we announce the winner, let's recap the question.

Our question for August was:

"What is the name of the famous jazz composer who was born in Prague in 1948 to the family of a famous jazz singer and a jazz musician and left Czechoslovakia after the 1968 Soviet invasion to make an outstanding music career in the United States?"

We also gave you a clue which made your guessing much easier: Our mystery man also composed the soundtrack to the American television series Miami Vice.

The right answer is not Marco Antonio Solis (he was not born in Czechoslovakia but in Mexico), nor is it Lalo Schifrin, who was born in Argentina - as some of you guessed.

Our man is Jan Hammer, the son of Czech jazz legend, singer Vlasta Pruchova and Dr Jan Hammer, who was a composer and pianist.

Jan Hammer junior was a very talented child and he was not yet twenty when he composed the soundtrack to the children's movie "Silene smutna princezna" or "The Terribly Sad Princess".

In 1968 Jan Hammer won a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and after the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia he chose to stay in the United States. Almost twenty years later, the whole of the US knew him thanks to his music to the popular television series Miami Vice.

In the Czech Republic, millions of people hear Jan Hammer's music every day because he's written the jingles for the commercial channel TV Nova.

And now let's hear what some of you have written to us. This is an e-mail from Christopher Keen from Canada:

"The answer to your music quiz question for August is Jan Hammer. (I think.) I catch your program on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) overnight service at about 5:00 AM as I start my 3 hour commute to work. All of your programming is interesting and listening to it in the (almost) middle of the night really makes it clear what a small world we live in."

Our listener Marnix Barbiers from Belgium wrote to us:

"Jan Hammer is the musical composer of the 'Miami Vice' theme. Not so difficult, but that is he is of Czech origin was nevertheless new to me."

And the winning letter we drew is from... Nathan Harpelle from Canada. Congratulations!

And this is what Mr Harpelle wrote to us:

"Although I do not often answer questions asked over the radio, I had to this time. Why? I was a teenager that thrived on the music, movies and TV of the 80's. This without question included the hit NBC TV series "Miami Vice". Every week I would wait with anticipation for those thumping beats and unique melody of Jan Hammer's opening theme music."

Mr Harpelle will receive a CD of music by Vlasta Pruchova, the mother of Jan Hammer and as many say "the first lady of Czech jazz". Listening to her singing, it's clear where Jan got his talent from.

Thanks for all your answers and letters and please do keep them coming - we'd like to know what you think and don't forget - everyone has a chance to win!

 

And that brings us to the question for the month of September. You will have noticed that all our competition questions this year are in some way connected to Czech music - the reason is that 2004 has been officially declared Year of Czech Music. And the September question is no exception:

"What is the connection between the word pistol (as in handgun) and Czech music?"

It may sound difficult but any good dictionary will help you, I'm sure.

Please, send us your answers to us by the end of September to the usual address, Radio Prague, English Section, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic, or much quicker by e-mail at english@radio.cz. Anyone has a chance to win.

05-09-2004

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