The Romany hip hop group Gipsy.cz have gradually built up a following here in the Czech Republic, with their unusual mix of rap and traditional gipsy music and lyrics in Czech, English and Romani. But the band, led by Radoslav (Gipsy) Banga, have set their sights higher: on international success. Their most recent album reached the European World Music Top Ten, and at the weekend Gipsy.cz notched up another career milestone when they played at perhaps the world's greatest music festival, England's Glastonbury.
My guest for One on One this week is Canadian native Glen Emery, who was one of the first foreign entrepreneurs to begin operating in the Prague pub trade shortly after the Velvet Revolution. In the early 1990s, Prague had a reputation as a new "left bank", as thousands of young American and other Western ex-pats descended on the city attracted by cheap beer and the exuberant atmosphere that surrounded a society which was busy letting its hair down after forty years of communist oppression. One of the focal points of this new Bohemian scene was
Laco Deczi is one of the most respected trumpet players to have ever come out of former Czechoslovakia, a jazzman who got his start in 1960s Prague playing Be Bop and so-called Hard Bop. Deczi (who has lived in the US since the mid-1980s and is now in his late 60s) still routinely tours the Czech Republic and his homeland Slovakia.
The first Czechs began settling in Texas in the 1850s and within five decades there were around 250 Czech communities in the state. Today one of the organisations keeping the community's traditions alive is the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Centre. This week John Polasek, a member of its board of directors, was in Prague on behalf of the centre to receive an award from the Czech Foreign Ministry. He told me about its activities.
One of the oldest and most popular folklore festivals in Europe kicked off at Straznice in southern Moravia on Thursday. With over 15,000 visitors every year, Czech folk bands, singers and dancers, consider it the 'Mecca' of all folklore festivals. Over 2,000 participants from the Czech Republic and abroad will perform during 31 events. The festival comes to a close this Sunday.
Dusk on Saturday belonged to almost 50 museums and galleries in Prague, which opened at 7 PM for the fourth year of what is called Museum Night. Their treasures were - for one night only - on display free of charge, or in some places for a symbolic admission fee, until as late as 1 AM. Around 170,000 people turned out.
Smetana's Litomysl International Opera Festival is the largest open-air classical music festival in the Czech Republic. Eva Urbanova launches the traditional Smetana's Litomysl International Opera Festival on Friday; the popular Czech soprano is now celebrating twenty years of a most impressive career. Dita Asiedu takes a closer look at the important annual event:
One critic wrote of Marta Topferova that you could be better off not seeing what she looks like - just listening to her husky jazz vocals you might guess she's a 50-something Latin American singer-songwriter. In fact, the "tri-cultural" Marta was born here in the Czech Republic, though she has lived in the United States for most of the last two decades.
The Lednice - Valtice Area in South Moravia is the largest artificially created landscape in Europe. Created by the dukes of Liechtenstein on their Moravian domain in the 18th and 19th centuries, it features several chateaus, large parks and various monuments spread around the landscape fashioned in the Romantic and Classical styles. One of the monuments, the 60 metre tall Minaret, will be closed for the season as it needs renovation.