This week we take a look at an established Czech band November 2nd, whose red-headed front-woman and song writer Saša Langošová combines rock, country and pop in her melodic and often fiery songs. Although it has not really found a place in the Czech mainstream music world, November 2nd has been steadily making music for over 10 years, exploring different genres and working with international big names like Suzanne Vega, Tchad Blake, Doug Yowell or Steve Walsh.
Three theatre groups from Prague, Budapest and London joined forces last year to create a multidisciplinary project called home:scape. Combining interviews, blog entries and a multimedia theatre performance the creators looked at the theme of home, trying to find out what defines that ambiguous concept for different people – those who had lived in one place their whole lives, and those who are in constant flux. I asked Jonathan Kennedy, the executive director of one of the theatre troupes - Tara Arts in London –how the idea for the project came
One of the most popular films at the recent One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague was Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer. The story of the trial of three members of Pussy Riot for attempting to perform a protest song at a Moscow cathedral, it draws on interviews with their relatives and other members of the collective to create a vivid portrait of the controversial Russian group. Ahead of a screening I asked co-director Mike Lerner what had attracted him to the subject.
Among the 100-plus films being screened at Prague’s One World festival of human rights documentaries is The Lost Signal of Democracy. It explores what happened last June when, a couple of years after the country’s financial meltdown, the Greek government shut down public broadcaster ERT overnight. A move unprecedented in Europe, the closure shocked many Greeks and led to a nationwide national strike. I spoke to the film’s maker, Yorgos Avgeropolous, and asked him why Greece’s leaders had taken such a radical step.
Among the highlights of this year’s One World festival of human rights documentaries is God Loves Uganda, a gripping film revealing how right-wing Christians – including LGBT opponent Scott Lively – campaigned successfully for anti-gay legislation in the African state. Ian Willoughby spoke to the Oscar-winning director of God Loves Uganda, Roger Ross Williams, and asked him why the Kansas-based International Church of House of Prayer had targeted Uganda in particular.
Some of the thousands of statues, fountains, murals and other artefacts erected in the Czech Republic in the 1970s and 80s are set to receive better care and protection. The Czech National Heritage Institute says these works of art are among the most endangered in the country; to save the most valuable of them, the state-run institute is now planning to identify and preserve them.
The rock and blues singer and song writer Michal Prokop has been part of the Czech music scene for over 50 years. With their clever lyrics, his songs have always appealed to sophisticated audiences but he has also scored a series of major hits. While strictly apolitical during the communist era, Michal Prokop went into politics in the 1990s but quit, and recorded his latest album which came out in 2012.
Works by the great Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali are currently on exhibit at the Brno City Museum at Špilberk Castle in Brno. The travelling exhibition, which has already been shown in a number of European cities, focusses not on the artists’ best-known work, but rather smaller pieces and commissions, utilising a variety of different formats and artistic techniques.