This edition of the Arts is devoted to Yvonne Sanchez, a jazz singer of Polish and Cuban origin, whose grandfather even performed with the famous Buena Vista band. Yvonne was brought up in Germany, but settled in Prague in the early 1990s, soon becoming one of the leading singers on the Czech jazz scene. In 2002 she recorded her first album, ‘Invitation’, with a trio of Czech musicians and a few months ago, she released her very own album, called ‘My Garden’.
David Černý, the author of the controversial artwork Entropa unveiled by the Czech EU presidency last week in Brussels, has agreed to give the government back the money he received for the work. Meanwhile, an internet petition has been started in Bulgaria protesting against the Bulgarian part of the mosaic having been covered up.
The world of Czech culture is in mourning following the death of the renowned architect Jan Kaplický, who passed away on the evening of Wednesday 14th January. The loss is not just a major one for the Czech Republic, but a deep personal one for his family – Mr Kaplický aged 71 died from sudden heart failure, on what his family described as one of the greatest days in his life – he was just three hours into celebrating the birth of his daughter Johanka - his wife still in hospital. The sudden loss has thrown the full spectrum of Kaplický’s life,
During the Second World War, over 140,000 people were imprisoned in the Terezín ghetto north of Prague. Their only crime was to be Jewish. One in four died in the ghetto itself, and most who survived later perished in other Nazi camps. But despite appalling overcrowding, there was still a semblance of normal life in Terezín. The ghetto’s streets still had names; people would still go to work in the morning, and come home to their cramped barracks at night. And against the odds, Terezín had a thriving cultural life. This included theatre, a fact
Václav Havelka is a man of many talents. He promotes rock concerts, presents a radio programme and runs a small music label. But first and foremost he is a musician; solo under the name Selfbrush and with the band Please the Trees, Havelka has steadily become one of the most respected artists in Czech independent music.
The horrible death of Jan Palach shook the Czechoslovak nation. In the ten days between Palach’s self-immolation and his massive funeral, the country saw a number of rallies and protests, as people expressed their opposition to both the Soviet occupiers and the home-grown communist elite that was beginning to collaborate with them. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Jan Palach’s death, a new exhibition has just opened in Prague featuring rarely seen photos of those events.
The world of Czech culture is in mourning following the death of the renowned architect Jan Kaplický, who passed away on Wednesday evening. The loss is not just a major one for the Czech Republic, but a deep personal one for his family – Mr Kaplický died just three hours after his wife gave birth to a daughter in Prague.
Nothing better symbolizes the political thaw in 1960s Czechoslovakia than the boom in jazz, which many saw as embodying the very idea of individual expression and freedom from constraint. It is not hard to imagine the excitement when Louis Armstrong came to Prague in March 1965. Many people felt that Czechoslovakia had at last come in from the cold, and his concert at Prague’s Lucerna Ballroom was a cultural milestone. It ended with Satchmo thanking his audience, commenting that the Czech passion for jazz had come as quite a surprise to him.
Václav Havel is known as the first president of the Czech Republic, an anti-communist dissident, and a playwright. A new exhibition, which opened in Prague on Tuesday, presents Mr Havel in yet another role – as inspiration for poets from the unofficial Czech culture of the 1970s and ‘80s. Entitled “We had the Underground, Now we Have F-All”, the exhibition features texts by underground Czech poets about Václav Havel.
One of the most exciting bands to emerge on the Czech music scene over the last 12 months is the funky and progressive pop group known as Toxique. Headed by singer Klara Vytisková (who some have described as a Czech Gwen Stefani) the band released its debut last year – and soon shot up in the charts. The single Two Sides is now widely well-known, while an appearance in last year’s Eurosong (the national round of the Eurovision contest) only added to Toxique’s popularity. The band is the focus of today’s Arts.