The great American jazz musician Herbie Hancock received sustained applause from an almost capacity audience at Brno’s Vodova sports hall on Saturday night. The Oscar and multi-Grammy winning keyboardist and composer, who is 74, played songs from across his distinguished career, including his 1962 classic Watermelon Man, in a concert that was part of the city’s JazzFest. Hancock had previously performed twice in Prague, at a jazz festival in the capital in 1986 and at the Prague Spring classical music festival with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2005.
The Český slavík (Czech Nightingale) poll of musician of the year has been won for the 39th time by veteran pop star Karel Gott. At a ceremony at Prague’s State Opera on Saturday night, Gott, who is 75, also received a special Absolute Nightingale prize for earning the most points in the history of the competition, which is voted on by members of the public. Best female singer was Lucie Bílá, who took the award for the 18th time, rockers Kabát were best band and singer Elis was best newcomer.
In this edition of Sunday Music we'll be playing some of the best known songs by popular Czech singer Petr Hapka, who passed away last week at the age of just 70. Hapka worked closely with a number of lyricists but with none more closely than Michal Horáčeck. Together they produced some of the best known hits in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s.
Today in Mailbox: Response to Radio Prague programmes dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, Radio Prague's monthly quiz. Listeners/readers quoted: Gregory Lagat, Rabisankar Bosu, Lynda-Marie Hauptman, Jeff Tomecek, Hans Verner Lollike, Valery Lugovskiy, Dean Bonanno, Abhirikshma Nandi, Deblina Biswas, Colin Law, Jayanta Chakrabarty.
The popular Czech composer and singer Petr Hapka has died at the age of 70. Hapka co-wrote a series of hits with lyricist Michal Horáček and other collaborators for artists such as Hana Hegerová, Karel Gott, Lucie Bilá, Michal Kocáb and Jana Kirschner. His own distinctive voice appeared on solo recordings and duets, while he also composed music for a great number of films, TV series and theatre productions.
The 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, celebrated earlier this week, was marked not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. On Sunday, for example, the Czech Philharmonic headed by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, played its final North American date in New York at none other than Carnegie Hall, performing Antonín Dvořák’s From the New World Symphony, written during his stay in America.
Some 20,000 people attended a concert on Wenceslas Square on Monday, organized by Czech Radio, marking the 25th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. Performers included notable personalities who figured in the 1989 revolution such as Michal Prokop and Jaroslav Hutka. During the evening, many lit candles at the memorial to Jan Palach and at the statue of St. Wenceslas, while some held signs echoing discontent from earlier in the day with the country’s president.
For Semafor is a unique album initiated by the Czech music journalist Pavel Klusák on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the legendary Semafor Theatre in 2009. It features 20 cover versions of the most famous hits by Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr interpreted by some of the best known Czech indie bands, such as Květy, OTK or Ecstasy of Saint Theresa.
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