Thirty years of the Indies label clan

Thirty years of the Indies label clan

On Friday 14 February, the Sono Centre in Brno hosted a genre-diversified festival, which was also a celebration of three decades of activity of three publishing branches, which we associate with the original simple name Indies Records. Over the years, Indies Records has divided itself into three separate labels with three distinct edition catalogues – Indies MG, Indies Scope and Indies Happy Trails, which are operated by the personalities of Miloš Gruber, Milan Páleš and Jaromír Kratochvíl.

The initiator of the gala evening was obviously Milan Páleš (Indies Scope), supported by his long-time right hand Přemysl Štěpánek. Thanks to these two propellers and the speaker, a music editor and publicist Milan Tesař from Radio Proglas, we could enjoy for several hours a pleasant atmosphere and unpretentious friendly spirit in a varied genre mix.

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Since its beginnings, which focused mainly on non-mainstream such as alternative rock and folk scene (wider known names included Psí vojáci and Jáchym, Oldřich Janota, Vladimír Václavek or Iva Bittová), Indies has developed into a wide genre breadth  in which it stands on one side stands  raw, earthy rock alternative, but on the other side nowadays a majority of music with overlaps into classics, jazz, world music or quite popular artists such as Zuzana Navarová, Tata bojs, Traband, Radůza, Hradišťan, Druhá tráva or Petr and Hana Ulrych.

What actually all the titles published by Indies have in common? I think it was nicely expressed at this concert by the vocalist of the band -123 min Zdeněk Bína, whose expression I am paraphrasing here: "Indies release music mainly because they love it and we thank them for it." So this is probably what all those who cooperate with this label feel: The basis of editorial philosophy is not a superficial business and the corresponding marketing, but an effort to spread a good musical message.

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Several editions have been developed over the years, which can be said to be representative catalogues of Czech music in various genres. The first folklore title V Brně na Špilberku [In Brno at Špilberk] (featuring Hradišťan, Gajdoši Brno and Martin Hrbáč Dulcimer Band) was released in 1996, in the following years two unique titles from Horňácko were released and today we can say that Indies Scope through the eight-part Anthology of Moravian Folk Music provides a unique picture of folk music culture in Moravia. If we add individual titles of individual ensembles (dulcimer bands) to this enumeration, especially from the rich production of Indies Happy Trails by Jaromír Kratochvíl, we have a representative overview that no other Czech or Moravian publisher can match.

Indies Scope is also the most productive publisher of titles in the field of modern folk and world music. It is no coincidence that it is an annual participant in the largest international world music expo WOMEX. It even released the titles of two renowned foreign bands of the genre on the Czech market - the Hungarian Ghymes and the Finnish Värttina.

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In recent years, Indies Happy Trails has released a unique edition of archive recordings of Czech jazz. Who wants to take a picture of the roots of modern jazz in Czechoslovakia and further refresh the memory of the CD of key Czech jazz albums (with extended cover information), cannot let the Indies Happy Trails catalogue go amiss.

Friday evening at Sono offered symbolically a bit of everything you can find at Indies – Bombarďák for children and adults, representatives of the world music scene BraAgas, folk music Martina Trchová and Adam Kubát, folk band Kubíci from Horňácko, folk-rock Květy, bluesrock Band of Heysek, rap-rock Nuck Chorris Gang, jazz-rock-blues trio -123 min, mostly female alternative Zuby nehty and other artists.

At the concert there was also available a thematic issue of the culture magazine UNI 02/20, which, in addition to comprehensive summarising articles and interviews with the publishing trio, also featured the results of an opinion poll in which editor-in-chief Ondřej Bezr addressed forty music journalists and critics asking to choose ten, in their opinion the best, titles released by Indies. I will not reveal everything, but at least these: The first place has been taken  by the CD Bittová & Václavek: Bílé inferno, the second by Zuzana Navarová & Koa for her CD Barvy všecky and the third by Hradišťan with their album O slunovratu. In the top ten we can also find Psí vojáci, Radůza, Traband, the duo Tara Fuki, but also an Anthology of Moravian Music.

Good job, dear colleagues from Indies! And a lot of zest in the years to come!

Photo by Indies

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