Fans of Czech swing and jazz will no doubt be thrilled to learn about the new release of a new 14 CD box set compiling a decade of recordings by the famous Karel Vlach Orchestra, from 1939 to 1949. The set features almost 350 studio tracks from the orchestra credited with popularising Swing in Czechoslovakia.
Even though he lives a world away from Prague, the New Zealand poet David Howard was on familiar territory when he visited the Czech Republic this year. In his poetry he has come to this country often over the last decades. Thanks to the Cities of Literature scheme, coordinated by UNESCO, he was able to spend a two-month literary residency in Prague. The encounter of the city of his imagination with the reality proved an inspiration. David Vaughan has more.
Noir fiction and the sub-genre Urban Noir do not have a long-standing tradition in Czech writing, where the emphasis for many years was on classic mysteries and detective stories. But that didn’t stop the independent Brooklyn-based publishing house Akashic Books from addressing Czech publisher Paseka with the idea of adding Prague to its long running urban noir series.
In 2007 when businesses were closing down as a result of the global crisis, Leon Jakimič founded his lighting installations and glass artworks company Lasvit. Today it is one of the world leaders in its field, with offices in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Dubai and many other cities. Mr. Jakimič runs the company from Hong Kong but, on one of his many visits to the Czech Republic, he showed us around the Ajeto glassworks in Nový Bor where the company’s unique creations take shape.
The annual Prague Writers’ Festival, which brings together prominent writers and thinkers from around the world, gets underway in Prague on Friday. The 26th edition of the festival focuses on the theme of Crime and Punishment in a world where the destruction of universal human values often leads to extreme individualism. As always, the festival brings a number of guests, including US writer Chuck Palahniuk.
In this week’s Sunday Music we present up-and-coming singer-songwriter Barbora Mochowa. Dubbed the Czech Lana Del Rey, Barbora recently released her debut album Waiting for the White Raven – a collection of melancholic, soul-searching songs with a distinct “cosmic” feel. The willowy redhead with Russian roots says she draws inspiration from her own mood and the world around her.
It is exactly forty years since the first inhabitants started moving into the Czech Republic’s biggest housing estate, Jižní Město in the south of Prague. The local Chodovská tvrz gallery is marking this anniversary with an exhibition dedicated to the history of the district and to the everyday life of its inhabitants. Called Jižní město: From Utopia to Reality, it features large-scale models of the prefabricated houses, audio recordings, as well as art objects reflecting life at the so-called “Jižák”.