Final preparations are underway for the One World human rights documentary film festival, which starts in Prague on Monday. This year’s edition, the 19th, will turn the spotlight on the lives of migrants who have settled in Europe – and deliver all kinds of captivating stories from around the globe. Ahead of the opening, festival director Hana Kulhánková filled me in on this year’s curtain-raising film.
Taking part in the carnival parade in Rio is an unforgettable experience and all you need to do is don a mask and costume and join in the revelry. But only the very best dancers have the privilege of dancing at the Sambódromo. Among the few foreigners to join this elite group of Brazilian dancers for the 2017 parade competition was Czech actor and dancer Viktor Polášek.
Mardi Gras celebrations have been taking place around the country ahead of Ash Wednesday. The Czech Republic may be one of the most secular countries in Europe but Czechs love to observe traditions and while few people are likely to fast during the 40 day Lent period they celebrate Mardi Gras (or Masopust as it is called in Czech) with a vengeance.
These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere by dné (AKA Ondřej Holý) recently won the Vinyla alternative music prize for Czech LP of the year and is also in the running for the Apollo award. Recorded in large part in Holý’s Prague bedroom, the mesmerising, keyboard-based album came out on German label Majestic Casual and has been making waves internationally in a way most Czech artists can only dream of. When I stopped by at Ondřej Holý’s home, I first asked him about his beginnings in music.
Toxique are a Czech electronic pop and R&B band who have been around for a number of years (the group was founded by five graduates from Prague's Institute of Chemical Technology) whose lead singer Klára Vytisková is also a well-known TV personality (as a jury member on the Czech and Slovak version of Pop Idol) and all around fashion trendsetter. In 2013, she also embarked on a solo career.
Few pieces of music could be said to capture the spirit of the Czech landscape more vividly than Bedřich Smetana’s symphonic cycle, Má vlast – My Homeland. The cycle is also a symbol of triumph over adversity. By the time he completed the work at the end of the 1870s, Smetana was almost totally deaf, living in isolation and far from the musical life of Prague. This and other aspects of the composer’s eventful life are captured in a new play by the American writer Stephan Delbos, which will be premiering in Prague at the beginning of March. David
Talented up-and-coming Czech designers presented their work at London’s International Fashion Showcase for the fourth year now. Following last year’s huge success with their Fata Morgana collection, they pulled out all the stops in order to stand out amidst tough competition in one of the leading fashion capitals of the world.
Fifteen buildings were just recently added to the list of Czech Cultural Monuments, including an early 20th century power station in Poděbrady and Prague’s famous Lucerna Palace. The list also includes buildings from earlier periods, such as the Invalidovna complex, which featured prominently in Miloš Forman’s Amadeus.
Czech folk legend Jarmila Šuláková, who died this week at the age of 87, brought Moravian folk music to audiences around the world. The „queen of folk“ sang from the heart as she liked to say and she had the same esprit at 30 as she did at 80, singing both with traditional folk ensembles as well as the folk-rock group Fleret which opened the world of folk music to younger audiences. In the course of a career spanning more than six decades she recorded over a dozen albums and performed thousands of concerts at home and abroad.