Singer-songwriter Albert Černý is well-known to local guitar pop fans thanks to his former group, Charlie Straight. Indeed, their 2009 UK-inspired debut She’s A Good Swimmer won the Czech equivalent of a Grammy for album of the year. Now the rangy and charismatic frontman is back with a new band, Lake Malawi, who are just about to play their first live shows around the Czech Republic. On the eve of those shows, I spoke to Černý at our studios. Our conversation started with where it all started: his hometown of Třinec, one of the country’s most easterly
The great Italian composer of film scores, Ennio Morricone, performed to a sold-out crowd at Prague’s O2 Arena on Sunday night. The seated audience of 12,000 gave Morricone, 85, a standing ovation at the end of a two-hour performance that featured many of his most famous composition from movies such as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in America and The Untouchables.
Over 1,000 people watched a free live screening of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka live from the New York Metropolitan Opera on a Prague square on Saturday evening. Rusalka was the first Czech opera to feature in the popular series, which is beamed to cinemas and other venues around the world. A spokesperson for the company that runs such projections in the Czech Republic, Aerofilms, said the technical quality of the screening on Náměstí Republiky was below that achievable in a cinema but that they had attempted to create the best possible conditions for the open air event.
For 12 years Peter Freestone was a personal assistant and close friend to Freddie Mercury, the singer who reached superstardom with the rock group Queen. He was with also there during the singer’s last days in 1991. Since the start of the Noughties, Freestone has lived in the Czech Republic. I contacted him this week after it was confirmed that Queen will release three tracks that time forgot which Mercury recorded with Michael Jackson, a recording at which Freestone was present.
A little bit of music history will be made on Saturday when Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka will become the first Czech opera to be broadcast live from New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The story of a water nymph who falls for a human has long been a favourite amongst Czech audiences, but this ‘Live in HD’ performance will be beamed to cinemas, concert halls and town squares around the world.
The Apollo music award for the best album of 2013 will be presented at an awards ceremony in Prague on Wednesday night. The annual award, which is perhaps analogous to the Mercury Prize in the UK, is voted on by a panel of music critics and is this year being presented for the third time. Among the contenders this time out are Dan Bárta & Illustratosphere, Never Sol and Prago Union.
Markéta Irglová is a Moravian-born, internationally known singer, songwriter and pianist who records exclusively in English. The modest musician was not yet 20 when she became the only Czech woman ever to win an Oscar, for Falling Slowly with Glen Hansard. After the pair went their separate ways romantically and professionally, Irglová – now based in Iceland – struck out on her own in 2011 with the poetic, piano-driven LP Anar.
This week’s Sunday music show profiles the album Crazy Classic by a refreshing young group called Two Voices. Since they first appeared on Radio Prague the two voices have expanded to four –three female and one male voice – but the basic idea is the same, presenting well know classics in an irreverent manner thanks to the witty and outrageous lyrics by chanson singer Jana Rychterova. So stay with us for some Bach, Strauss and Tchaikovsky in a refreshing new rendition.
A new festival merging electronica music, contemporary theatre and dance with multimedia and visual arts is being held in the Czech capital this and next week. Entitled Spectaculare, the event brings some leading artists of these genres to Prague including Jon Hopkins from the UK and Nils Frahm from Germany. But the event also features several Czech artists and ensembles such as Clarinet Factory and Tantehorse.
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