A concert at Prague’s Rudolfinum on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the biggest mass murder of Czechoslovak citizens during WWII. On the night of March 8, close to 3,800 prisoners from Terezín – men, women and children were transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and gassed. The commemorative concert included the works of Jewish composers who were murdered at Auschwitz. The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra performed them under conductor Libor Pešek and in cooperation with the pianist Martin Kasík, violinist Pavel Šporcl, members of the Disman Radio Children’s Choir, Czech Radio Children´s Choir and Prague Philharmonic Choir.
The rock and blues singer and song writer Michal Prokop has been part of the Czech music scene for over 50 years. With their clever lyrics, his songs have always appealed to sophisticated audiences but he has also scored a series of major hits. While strictly apolitical during the communist era, Michal Prokop went into politics in the 1990s but quit, and recorded his latest album which came out in 2012.
Karel Kryl was one of the most significant Czech anti-communist protest singers. His sparse and poetic songs such as Bratříčku zavírej vrátka (Close the Gate, Little Brother), written in direct response to the Soviet invasion, reflected the frustrations of many Czechoslovaks in the 1970s and ‘80s. This year sees two important anniversaries relating to the singer-songwriter: Monday is the 20th anniversary of his death, while the 70th anniversary of his birth falls in April.
In this week’s Sunday Music Show we listen to music by the soulful a capella group Yellow Sisters and speak with one of its four members Bára Vaculíková (and her young daughter). Antonia, Bára, Hawa and Leňa have been singing together since 2005, using their versatile voices to create full, rhythmical and often playful music.
Most dedicated listeners but also more casual fans of classical music have at some point wondered about the sound of early musical instruments once played by the great composers. The question of how historic instruments might have sounded veritably haunted Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein, who lamented that while some instruments that had survived in museums they had long lost their original colour and tone. The result was that nobody really knew any longer which techniques had been used in their production, or what their exact sound was like. That
Ana Maria Janků was born in Argentina, but her link to her roots and in particular to Czech classical music is strong, thanks to the influence of her Czech parents. Today she is taking her own and her parent’s Czech legacy further by promoting Czech music at the Czech cultural centre in Buenos Aires. When she visited Radio Prague’s studio a few days ago we spoke about the fulfillment this brings her and why her work at the center has become the pivot of her life.
Organisers have confirmed that legendary American singer and musician Patti Smith will headline this year’s Trutnoff Open Air Festival in the Czech Republic. Trutnoff (the spelling changed this year) has a 30 year-long tradition in the Czech Republic and former Czechoslovakia. Organisers made the announcement ahead of a related event on Monday at Prague’s Archa Theatre, celebrating renowned British bluesman John Mayall’s 80 birthday.
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
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