The Fast Food Orchestra is a perennial star of the Czech Republic’s ska-punk and reggae scene. This year, it will celebrate its 20 years of existence with a series of spring concerts, and will also perform at the Fléda music club. Featured guests appearing in the concert will be Su-shu, Dr. Kary and a number of additional musicians who have gone through this band in the past.
The Tomáš Kočko & ORCHESTRA band released their first album twenty years ago, and now produced its remake. At that time, the band debuted with a song named Horní chlapci [Boys from the Upper End], which referred to the Moravian Wallachian poet Ladislav Nezdařil. The re-recorded album will be launched in the Stará Pekárna music club in Brno.
The Tourist Information Centre recently published the second part of its Authentic Guide THIS IS BRNO II. The city of Brno is presented in it by prominent local personalities from the ranks of artists, publicists, photographers and Brno patriots, plus one Prague writer. One separate chapter in the guide is dedicated to musical Brno; it was written by a performer who calls himself burning.
The band The Shookies has recently had concerts with the Irish formation Interference and Glen Hansard and has also released a new single, Lonely & Weak. In March, they are planning to christen a second album, Sooner or Later, which is being created in cooperation with producer Tomáš Neuwerth in the Animan studio in Kopřivnice. The Brno christening of the album will take place in the Melodka club.
The international jazz festival JazzFestBrno published its complete programme today. It promises fifteen musical evenings, where we will get to hear great names including the bassist Stanley Clarke, trumpet player Theo Croker, Avishai Cohen and Peter Evans, guitarist Julian Lage and South African singer Melanie Scholtz. This year, the festival will pay homage to the legends of the Czech Contraband stage Milan Svoboda and Luboš Andršt, whose Blues Band will be joined by the singer Peter Lipa. The list will also include big names of contemporary Czech jazz such as bassist Jaromír Honzák, trumpet player Štěpánka Balcarová and Michal Nejtek.
The spring part of the festival in the Stará Pekárna club will begin this evening with the concert of English singer Elles Bailey, accompanied by the Czech band The Bladderstones. The festival promises 27 jazz and blues concerts with an international representation. We will get to see for example the Mike Ross Blues Band, Marek Kotača Trio, Tom Smith Quartet and the Vilém Spilka Quartet.
This year, the JazzFestBrno festival has expanded its offer to include an "electronic" programme line named Tension. Within that series, the bands Zabelov Group and HRTL Spaghetti Ensemble appeared in the Praha space in Brno on 28 March. However, the two-hour concert, which took place on 5 April in the sold-out Sono Centre, was also ideologically close to this new series. The Manchester-based trio GoGo Penguin perhaps uses an instrumental layout of a jazz piano trio vetted by decades, but still oscillates around electronic music as a starting point in its albums and concerts.
The JAZZFESTBRNO Festival is expanding this year with the new Tension programme line, which will feature musicians on the borderline between jazz and electronic music. One of the performers who will appear on 28 March in the Praha space in Brno will be the Czech-Ukrainian duo Zabelov Group, which has recently released a new album called Eg. This interview with Roman Zabelov (accordion, voice, piano, organ, harp…) and Jan Šikl (drums, trumpet, guitar, percussion…) was done in a Prague café just before a rehearsal of the band.
A sold out Fléda Club. Shoulder to shoulder. And yet, in this huge crowd you meet six classmates from the grammar school you went to in the first half of the nineties and a colleague with whom you later studied journalism. The band Dunaj (“Danube”) has returned to the stage after twenty years and its hometown was of course one of their first important stops.
The Cameroonian musician Richard Bona is returning to Brno after a year and a half. While last year the audience in the Janáček Theatre had their breath taken away by his Afro-Cuban project Heritage, this time he is coming with his international group Richard Bona Group. When on 25 November in the Sono Centre we are admiring Bono’s virtuoso guitar playing, it would be good to be aware while he may have inherited his sense of rhythm and general relationship to music from his ancestors, his current level is the result of his hard work. At least this was something he emphasised in our interview, in which we also covered Bono’s love of flamenco and for his club, which he recently opened not far from Paris.
“Beránci a vlci (“Lambs and wolves”) is my personal vision of Moravian world music,” says Marian Friedl, who is a brilliant player both on his handmade folk flutes and on the jazz bass. It was his experience with different genres, ranging from folk to free jazz, together with the cooperation with style-wise similarly open Jitka Šuranská, that led to the creation of an extraordinary kind of music with roots in the performance Z kořenů k world music (“From roots to world music”) at the Folk Holidays in Náměšť nad Oslavou. Thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Culture, the album Beránci a vlci had the participation of four musical formations of different styles (together comprising of more than twenty musicians and singers) and deservedly won the Anděl prize in the Folk category (newly including the genre of world music). In the meantime, the concert premiere of Beránci a vlci took place in the summer of 2017, again in Náměšť nad Oslavou (with the participation of album publisher Milan Páleš dressed as the sheep grandmother) and other festival performances followed – at the Hradecký slunovrat in Hradec nad Moravicí and at Colours of Ostrava. It was a small dream of Marian Friedl and all his lambs and wolves to bring this music into the aurally clean space of the Brno Sono centre, which was made possible thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. The roughly hour-long concert was not only merely the performing of the EP, but mainly a huge celebration and maybe even a new start for the project – a new direction towards greater and greater halls.
In the somewhat untraditional environment of Brno’s Metro Music Bar there was a performance by the musical ensemble with the name Musica Folklorica, a group that needs little introduction for folk fans. These excellent musicians perform mainly their own arrangements of folk songs especially from Horňácko, Myjava and also Romania. They came to Brno to christen what is now their eleventh album.
In the course of four days the Brno Music Marathon offered some 150 concerts with more than 500 participants. The festival brought together local artists and guests from abroad. The Jazz Evening in the Sono Centre opened with Brno’s Marek Kotača Trio, followed by Yaron Herman from Israel and Kenny Garrett from the USA, while on the stage at Špilberk Castle the local hip-hop legends Chaozz and the crossover and world music Dog Eat Dog got the audience moving. The Adicts from England together with the Prague group The Fialky took care of the rock evening at Fléda, while in the Sono Centre it was the Dutch Physical Graffiti paying tribute to Led Zeppelin. Brno was full of rock, with the British alt-J also performing on Sunday evening.
The group Billy Barman from Slovakia ended its Czech-Slovak tour at Brno’s Fleda. This series of concerts was interesting not only its purely acoustic form but especially for bringing together five singers from SĹUK (the Slovak Folk Artists’ Collective). This fusion of pop music and folk was originally created for the Tatra Flowers festival. Its unprecedented success, however, made the musicians decide to expand their repertoire and perform not only in the Slovak Republic, but also for their Czech neighbours.