For the last two years, Tereza Porybná has been the director of the Czech Centre in London. Under her leadership, the UK branch of the international network of cultural institutes is working to cultivate a cool, modern image of the Czech Republic via projects in fields such as the performing arts and design. Last week I discussed its work with Porybná in her office at the Czech Centre, which is in the fashionable Covent Garden district.
Vladimír Fišer, the legendary radio announcer who in 1968 announced the news of the Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia has died at the age of 81. A popular radio personality Fišer excelled as a talk show host, a presenter of radio plays and a dubber artist, but in the minds of the Czech people he will always be remembered at “the voice of 1968”.
Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. In today’s Sunday Music Show we look at the latest album by the alternative pop group Tata Bojs, one of the Czech Republic’s best known bands. Critics have referred to A/B as the band’s most pop-sounding album, nevertheless it still contains all the ingredients that distinguish Tata Bojs from other Czech bands: a signature dance sound, creative lyrics, word plays, and original guests.
Franz Kafka, the great Prague German writer, often comes across as a rather gloomy man, bound to his work in the office. For 12 years now, journalist Judita Matyášová has been trying to dispel this image of Kafka, taking pictures of places he visited and studying his travel diaries, to show that Kafka was in fact a very different man. Along with photographer Jan Jindra, she published a book on Kafka’s travels back in 2009. Now they are preparing a new project, an exhibition called Kafka on Holidays, which is to take place in a small village of Siřem.
Alex Went is the man behind the Prague Vitruvius, a very impressive and useful website dedicated to the city’s architecture. Indeed, the Englishman, who works as head of communications at Prague College, probably knows a lot more about the Czech capital’s buildings and history than the vast majority of natives. In the first part of our tour of “his Prague”, Went gives me some fascinating into Moskevská St., the main drag in his Vršovice neighbourhood – beginning across the street from the “Rangherka” mansion.
A festival called Praha žije hubdou is aiming to bring music to the streets of Prague next spring. If the project goes ahead, professionals and amateurs alike will help culturally transform the city for a day, but organisers will have to reach their proposed target in a current crowdfunding campaign. Jan Gregar of the NGO Nerudný Fest told me more about the project and about busking in Prague.
After three years, the renovation of Prague’s National Theatre is complete. The project, which cost 135 million crowns, saw the complete restoration of the theatre’s façade, which in places had fallen into disrepair. Not only has the theatre been restored, many of its magnificent interiors are also now viewable in a special tour online.
For twenty years now, the Prague-based Institute of Bohuslav Martinů has been assembling all available material on the great Czech composer, making it available to anyone interested in his life and work. It has also started to publish Bohuslav Martinů’s extensive complete editions, a work which is expected to continue for the next fifty years.
Today’s Sunday Music Show puts the spotlight on Tonya Graves, the Prague-based US singer, who has just released her second album, the positively received Back to Blues. Graves, known mainly as the lead singer for the band Monkey Business, offers her original take on some of the legendary blues songs, from B.B. King to Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix.