Last Saturday Trabant fans from around the country descended on Prague’s Motol district, in the western suburbs of the city, for the opening of the one-and-only Trabant Museum in the Czech Republic. The small two-cylinder vehicle born in communist East-Germany as an affordable car for the masses was neither affordable, nor easily accessible, but somehow or other the smoke-belching, sluggish Trabi has won many people’s hearts and still has fan clubs around the world.
Gabriela Gunčíková will make history in Stockholm on Saturday night when she becomes the first Czech to take part in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. The Czechs have had a rather cool relationship to the competition and Gunčíková is only the country’s fifth entrant. So how has she succeeded where Kabát and others have failed? That’s a question I put to historian Dean Vuletic, a specialist in the Eurovision who previously lived in Prague and is currently in Stockholm.
A new graphic novel has just been published to mark the upcoming 700th anniversary of the birth of the famous Czech ruler Charles IV. Entitled Charles IV: Master of the World, the comic book’s aim, at least in part, is to map his transformation from young prince to Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor.
Milan Kundera is not the only Czech novelist who has chosen to write in French. The writer and painter Lenka Horňáková-Civade has been in France for the last twenty years, living for most of that time with her French husband amid the beautiful countryside of Provence. The landscape and people of the region have inspired her to write several books in Czech, but she decided to write her latest novel directly in French, a language that she only learned as an adult. Paradoxically, the book takes us not to Provence, but to Czechoslovakia, telling the
The third annual Prague Design Week 2016 kicked off in the Czech capital this week at Kafkův dům (Kafka’s House). Organisers of the event, which features more than 90 exhibits by established firms, graduates and up-and-coming designers, say they want to highlight both variety in design as well as elements of the process itself, how an idea goes from being a sketch on paper to a prototype to finished product.
The annual Anifilm festival of animated film kicked off in the South Bohemian town of Třeboň on Tuesday. Over the course of next five days, hundreds of films, film commercials as well as music videos will be screened in numerous venues all over the town. The title of this year’s festival theme is “Where is My Home” and focuses on the work of Czech authors living abroad. The tradition of animation showcases in Třeboň started back in 2002, with the foundation of Anifest, which was later incorporated into Anifilm. Over the years the festival evolved
Recently the Prague Spring Swing Festival packed out the Grand Hall at the Lucerna Palace, confirming the dance style’s growing popularity in the Czech Republic. Milo Saidl has been one of the pioneers of swing in this country as a leading member of scene mainstays the Zig Zag group. Today, however, Saidl is living out a long-held dream as a dance instructor in New York. When he came into our studios recently on a visit to Prague, I asked him how he had got into swing in the first place.
In today’s programme we’ll be playing tracks of off the latest solo effort by David Koller – the legendary drummer and frontman for the rock group Lucie. His album, Československo with L-O-V-E in the word in caps, was recently named album of the year for 2015. Československo is of course the Czech name for the former Czechoslovakia.
Václav Havelka leads the guitar band Please the Trees, whose fourth LP Carp picked up the prestigious Apollo prize for Czech LP of 2015. The Krkonoše-born singer and songwriter also collaborates with lots of other musicians and regularly promotes concerts by major independent artists. Our tour of “Václav Havelka’s Prague” begins in a passageway between the streets Spálená and Opatovická that many residents probably have no idea exists. It’s home to Super Tramp Coffee, a newish café with wonderfully peaceful outdoor seating.
On his Facebook profile Lazer Viking’s genre is listed as “slop pop/bubblegum punk/young oldies”. Going by his excellent 2015 debut Radical Karaoke, the colourful Czech artist – who previously traded as Boy Wonder and the Teen Sensations – has also been immersed in girl groups, doo wop, surf pop and possibly Ariel Pink.