It is not just Czechs who are currently remembering Jan Palach’s radical protest in January 1969 and the impact his sacrifice helped create. The British ambassador to the Czech Republic, Nick Archer, has had a painting by a UK artist – created right after Palach’s death – installed at his country’s historic embassy building in Prague. He explains the background to the acquisition.
Houpací koně, who have been determinedly doing their own thing in the north Bohemian town of Ústí nad Labem for over a quarter of a century now, recently released their eighth LP of expansive guitar-based rock. Though title track Desolation Peak and other tracks have English titles, the record again features finely-honed Czech lyrics from group leader Jiří Imlauf.
Shoegaze, the musical genre marked by washes of effects-driven guitar and ethereal vocals, was born in the UK three decades ago. Among those keeping it alive and well today are Manon Meurt, a young band from the Central Bohemian town of Rakovník. Though indebted to My Bloody Valentine and others, the indie outfit’s recently released debut LP MMXVIII (produced by The Ecstasy of St. Theresa founder Jan P. Muchow) more than stands comparison to much of the shoegaze canon.
Join us for a look back at some of the Czech music highlights of the past year. In Radio Prague’s New Year’s Eve music show we bring you some of the most-played songs on radio this year. The bands include award-winning J.A.R with their new CD Escalation of Goodness, Mikolas Josef with Lie to Me, that won him sixth place at this year’s Eurovision contest, US based rock musician Ivan Král with his new album Colors and one of the biggest hits on YouTube this year - Lost and Found by Emma Smetana and Jordan Haj.
Earlier this year the Czech Republic marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, signed in September 1938 by the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy, resulting in the annexation of the Sudetenland by Nazi Germany. Radio Prague’s David Vaughan recently published a book in the UK titled “Hear My Voice”, most of which is set in Czechoslovakia in the months preceding the Munich agreement. Its narrator is an interpreter for the international press corps in Prague and he watches the events of 1938 unfold in Central Europe as
Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. But what would it look like if Jesus was born today, in the 21st century, in the Czech town of Beroun? This paraphrase of the birth of Jesus and other Biblical stories retold and reimagined can be found in a newly published book called Parabible. Its author is Alexandr Flek, a publisher, theologian and the chief translator of the modern Czech Bible version, Bible 21.
As the year draws to a close all of us here at the English department of Radio Prague would like to thank our devoted listeners the world over for their dedication to the station, for being with us and taking the time to drop us a line or write an email to share your views about what you found particularly interesting and what you’d like to hear more of on Radio Prague.
The world famous mezzo-soprano Dagmar Pecková, in collaboration with Czech composer and conductor Jaroslav Krček and his ensemble Musica Bohemica, has released her debut Christmas album. Called Nativitas, Christmas Songs of Old Europe, it is made up of Czech and Moravian carols, Christmas songs from seventeenth-century Bohemian Baroque hymnbooks as well as old carols of other European nations.
For centuries, Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral, a symbol of Czech statehood, lacked a suitable pipe organ whose sound would fill its monumental space. Now, nearly 700 years after construction began, the cathedral is set to get a huge new organ. More than 74 million crowns have already been raised in a public collection to build the instrument.