Mikuláš Bryan – alias Mr. Folxlide – is a Prague-born poet, award-winning translator of French literature, and musician steeped in blues and folk traditions. He plays on an American cigar box guitar, tuned to an open chord, adapting old time blues for balfolk dancing (“the ultimate balfolk-blues crossover”). This edition of the Sunday Music Show features tracks from Mr. Folxlide’s album “1-4-5”, sung in English and French, replete and resplendent with the “drone, ostinato and simple riffs” found in folk music around the globe.
Despite the practice being stopped by City Hall earlier this year, Praguers will get to see a special fireworks show on New Year’s Eve, albeit privately organised by an initiative that seeks to keep the tradition alive. According to Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, City Hall is not banning anyone from using fireworks, but simply wants to set a good example in not using environmentally damaging pyrotechnics that are also a cause of stress for many people and animals.
An exhibition marking 200 years of portraiture in the Czech lands gets underway at Prague Castle today. The curators have brought together exquisite works by the nation’s most celebrated painters, covering all major genres and movements up to the present day. I went along for a special tour ahead of the official opening.
Exactly 50 years ago, Vladimír Merta, one of the country’s most respected singer-songwriters and an excellent guitarist, released his debut album called Ballades de Prague. To mark the anniversary, the artist has launched a limited edition of the record on vinyl. It was presented at a concert at Prague’s Malostranská Beseda this Saturday.
This summer, director and screenwriter Ivan Fíla’s historical novel about Dr. František Kriegel – the only Prague Spring leader not to sign the Moscow Protocol validating the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia – became a bestseller. That success led Fíla to return to a “fairy tale thriller” film script he’d set aside long ago and turn it into a novel.
Not only is Bohuslav Martinů one of the most famous Czech composers, but next to Antonín Dvořák he is also the most played. Born in the small Czech village of Polička on December 8, 1890, Martinů would end up spending most of his life abroad, writing hundreds of compositions and experimenting with styles including expressionism, constructivism and jazz. Despite living in Paris and the United States for much of his life, he was also a fervent patriot, who included Czech folk music themes into his compositions and even volunteered to serve in the
A new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London brings together fifteen diverse cars to explore how the automobile accelerated the pace of change over the past century and the impact it had on the broader world, from visual culture to climate change. One of the cars selected for the show is the legendary Tatra 77, designed in Czechoslovakia in 1934. I spoke to Brendan Cormier, one of the exhibition’s curators, to find out more about the exhibition, which will run until April 2020:
The early 20th century naïve painter and sketch artist Robert Guttmann, in whose honour the exhibition gallery of the Jewish Museum in Prague is named, was famous in his day. Mainly due to his striking appearance, eccentric manner and extensive travels – often on foot – in promotion of the nascent Zionist movement. A fixture in Prague cafés and bars, where he sold his art for pocket change, “the Professor”, as he was known, was among the most photographed and caricatured personalities in Czechoslovakia. Yet few know his story today.
The celebrated Czech-born writer Milan Kundera received Czech citizenship forty years after it was revoked by the communist regime. The author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being was stripped of his citizenship after going into exile in France and his works were banned in his homeland until the 1980s.