The classic image of the piano virtuoso is of a dishevelled eccentric, devoted only to his music and detached from the concerns of everyday life. But the 36-year-old Czech pianist, Jan Simon, is different. He is one of the Czech Republic's best-known contemporary performers, and is both pianist in residence and artistic director of the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is also a devoted family man. Here he looks back to the birth of his daughter nine years ago, a time when he realized that not even Tchaikovsky has quite the appeal of a newborn
It isn't often that we bring you a report from a small village church in the mountains. But Paseky nad Jizerou is special. The village is on the western edge of the Krkonose Mountains, about a hundred kilometers north-east of Prague, and every year, just for a few days in August, some of the Czech Republic's top classical musicians gather there.
A huge illegal techno music festival known as Czechtek has now entered its 6th day near the village of Andelka in North Bohemia. Organisers kept the venue of this year's Czechtek festival secret until the very last moment, and thousands of young people from the Czech Republic and abroad started arriving at the site last Friday.
The international Bregenz Festival on Austria's Lake Constance opened on Wednesday, with calls for understanding following a series of political disputes. The Czech Republic and its culture is a major theme at this year's festival, which opened with Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's opera Julietta. And as Radio Austria International's Kerry Skyring reports now, the performance on Lake Constance was an attempt to smooth the troubled waters between the two countries.
What you hear there is traditional Navajo Indian chanting incorporated into modern music. Punk rock fans may recognize the group Blackfire - a traditionally influenced, politically driven group comprised of thee Navajo Indian siblings - Jeneda, Clayson and Klee Bennaly . Born into the heart of a political land dispute area called Big Mountain on the Navajo Nation the Bennaly family is driven by the need to save as much as it can from its precious legacy and to spread awareness of traditions and a way of life that are being stiffled by the demands
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.
An incredible 130 Czech and foreign bands who will be performing this weekend at Rock for People, the Czech Republic's biggest rock music festival. Rock for People takes place from Thursday to Saturday in its usual venue, Cesky Brod, around 30 kilometres east of Prague. On Tuesday morning, Ian Willoughby spoke to one of the organisers of the festival, Stepan Suchochleb, at a Prague cafe, and began by asking him how the festival had first begun.
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