Vladimíra Krčková recently performed at Life Fashion Café in Prague. She sang songs like “Once I had a secret love”, originally written for Doris Day in the 1950s. Standards like this one form the core of Krčková’s repertoire. Most pieces she performs are English-language tunes, but the singer also throws in the occasional French chanson and Spanish classics.
Marie Gabánková is a noted portrait artist, painter and teacher. She was born in Ostrava and left Czechoslovakia with her family shortly after the Soviet invasion of 1968, aged just seventeen. She has lived in Canada ever since and has had a book of her works published in England, and had such noted figures as singer-songwriter Karel Kryl and writer Josef Škvorecký sit down for portraits. When I met up with her I began by asking Marie what memories she has of her youth in Czechoslovakia.
On Friday, Scottish composer Geraldine Mucha passed away in Prague, which has been her home for most of the past 70 years. Author of numerous musical works, large-scale orchestral pieces, variations on folk songs and chamber pieces, Geraldine came to post-war Czechoslovakia with her husband Jiří Mucha, the son of the famous artists Alphonse Mucha. For the past twenty years, she has been the keeper of her father-in-law’s legacy, but her life’s pursuit of music also helped pave the way for female composers of the younger generations.
Anyone who has been to Prague is extremely likely to have seen some of the work of artist Jiří Votruba. Posters, postcards and t-shirts bearing his distinctive brightly-coloured images of Franz Kafka, the Golem, and Prague landmarks are on sale throughout the city. Indeed, they themselves help form the image of the Czech capital for many visitors.
In this week’s edition of the Sunday Music Show well be focussing on music in Czech film – rock and pop hits from the 1960s up to the Noughties. Everything from more recent films like Rebelové (Rebels) to family classics like Saxana and S tebou mě baví svět – sure to be fired up on the DVD or re-watched on TV during the upcoming holiday season.
When the Slovak writer Pavol Rankov published his novel “It Happened on September the First (or Whenever)” in 2009, it came just after the Slovak national football team had beaten the Czech Republic. In an enthusiastic review, one Czech critic suggested that the same had now happened in literature and that the Rankov’s literary achievement had put his Czech contemporaries to shame. When the author came to Prague earlier this week, David Vaughan took the opportunity to talk to him about a remarkable novel that speaks volumes about a part of the world
You may know the feeling – you return to your native village after a long absence and come across an eyesore – a building that screams “money, power and influence” and sticks out like a sore thumb from its surroundings. That is the kind of building that architect and photographer Jan Kruml likens to a flashing gold tooth.