The Czech illustrator Miroslav Šašek produced delightful and evocative books that introduced generations of children to some of the world’s great cities and countries. The fact he spent most of his life in exile has meant that his renown is perhaps greater internationally than in his native country. But in recent years that has finally been changing.
Martina Trchová is a Prague based singer and songwriter. Her most recent album, called Holobyt or Unfurnished Flat, has just won the Anděl Award in the folk and country category. The collection of twelve jazz-pop songs is connected by the motive of searching for a home. Trchová is accompanied by a trio of musicians consisting of guitarist Patrik Henel, bass player Radomír Polívka and drummer Petr Chlouba.
It is arguably the most frequently photographed sight in the Czech capital: Prague Castle overlooking the city complete with St. Vitus’ Cathedral. In the mid-18 century, the castle complex had a markedly different look. Its present-day appearance is based on designs by the Viennese court architect Nicolo Pacassi. He was commissioned by Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa after parts of the castle were heavily damaged.
In the nine days from 26 May to 3 June Prague will be treated to its very own version of the Edinburgh Fringe. Audiences will have over 230 English-language performances to choose from at various venues around the historic Malá Strana district. Shows come from a huge variety of countries and, in the experimental spirit of fringe, they vary from slapstick comedy to soul-searching reflections on our troubled times. David Vaughan spoke to the festival’s founder and director, Steve Gove.
The city of Jerusalem is to get a new watchtower by the famous Czech architect Martin Rajniš, who has built several such towers around the Czech Republic. The watchtower, typically a light construction of wooden beams and timber, will be built as part of Jerusalem Design Week. It is set to be erected in the Western part of the city in early July.
The general director of the Czech National Museum has just signed an agreement committing the institution to helping Syria save, preserve and conserve much of its cultural and historical heritage damaged by six years of war. At the Prague signing, Michal Lukeš and his Syrian counterpart were on hand to describe the task they face.
(The) Last Summer is the title of the recently released debut LP by Prague band Cold Cold Nights. The group are led by Jakub Jirásek, who previously performed as a solo singer-songwriter under the name J, and are marked by a guitar-based sound that alternates between heavy and catchy and is always easy on the ear. And they produced one of the best Czech music videos in years for standout track Joie.
The Prague Spring international music festival gets underway on Friday at Prague's Obecní dům. The festival will traditionally open with Bedřich Smetana’s My Country, this time featuring the world famous Vienna Philharmonic. Ruth Franková spoke to the head of Prague Spring, Roman Bělor, and asked him what was on the menu for the 72nd edition of the event.
This year’s Book World Prague has just got underway at the city’s Výstaviště. However, the 23rd edition of the trade fair and literary festival will also see it go outside the industrial palace to novel venues, while it will also have a major international aspect. I discussed Book World Prague 2017 with the event’s recently appointed new director, Radovan Auer.
The Czech Republic does not have a stellar track record when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest: the country fielded entries for three years straight from 2007 to 2009, but then withdrew until 2015. In all, all but one in five entries failed to make it to the final. This Tuesday, jazz singer Martina Bárta will be hoping to change things, however with My Turn.