In this month's Music Profile, we go back in time to the 1930s and the Liberated Theatre, where political satire and dadaist cabaret collided head on to a soundtrack of the latest scorching hot American jazz and blues. The music: near-blind piano virtuoso & composer Jaroslav Ježek. The words: avant garde merry pranksters Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec. Tune in to Music Profile to find out more.
The latest film by the Czech director Bohdan Sláma Venkovský Učitel – Country Teacher – opened at cinemas around the Czech Republic on Thursday. In keeping with its creator’s previous pictures, Venkovský Učitel is a naturalistic and poignant drama. But the love triangle at its centre is rather unusual in the context of Czech cinema.
‘Limonádový Joe’ (Lemonade Joe) is a cult sixties Czech western cum musical about a lemonade salesman in the Wild West. The film started life as column in a newspaper written by Jiří Brdečka during the war, before becoming a theatre play, and then finally the all-singing, all-dancing, film production Czechs know and love today. Tereza Brdečková is a film critic and the daughter of Jiří Brdečka, the man who conceived the movie:
It is estimated that some ten million Roma live in Europe – the equivalent of the total population of the Czech Republic. But we hear very little about Romany writing. A new anthology published by the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno and called “Čalo vod’i” (Full Soul) is helping to put that right, bringing together four decades of prose written by Romany authors in the Czech Republic. All the stories were written in the Romany language, and this attractive hardback edition with parallel Romany and Czech texts offers rich insights into Romany life
In recent weeks no band has made as exciting an impact on the Czech scene as Airfare – an indie rock group made up of Czech-American frontman Thomas J. Lichtag, guitarist Lukáš Chromek and bass guitarist Tomáš Vitásek (TV) – plus guest drummers because they paradoxically haven’t been able to find a permanent one. Just last month the band was voted Best Newcomer of 2007 by viewers of Óčko – the Czech answer to MTV - and the band’s single, Sorry Baby, off their debut album “Hotel Moscow” has become an overnight hit.
This week marks exactly 100 years since the death of Josef Hlávka, an architect, builder and the biggest Czech philanthropists of all time. This year, it has been 104 years since Hlávka established a foundation in support of education, science and art. When he died, he bequeathed all his property to the foundation. It was probably the only case in Czech history that someone left his entire fortune to charity. Yet, nowadays, many people don’t even know who Josef Hlávka was.
One of the legends of Czech theatre, the actor Radovan Lukavský, died on Monday at the age of 88. Lukavský’s renown was largely built on such performances as his 1960s Hamlet at the National Theatre, though many Czechs will remember him for his part in a 1970s TV adaptation of a novel by Alois Jirásek. Ruth Fraňková looks back at the life of one of the all-time great Czech actors.
This week in Mailbox: the beneficial properties of sea water once again, the Barrandov film studios in Prague, an Oscar for Czech musician Markéta Irglová, the 30th anniversary of Czech cosmonaut Vladimír Remek’s flight into space. Listeners quoted: Robert Fraser, Howard Barnett, Stephen Hrebenach, Thomas Kuca.