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.
The regular concerts by the band Funky Chicken have slowly transformed into a mini-festival, where the Funkshmakers Jindra Holubec y Amigoos and Funky Chicken will be performing, together with the dance rhythm of Dj Mik-mik from Equipe Animazione and Dj Ntkz from Bassinfection. Funky Night will take place in the large auditorium of the ArtBar Druhý Pád theatre.
The band WWW Neurobeat, after five years without an EP, has just brought out their new album Neutopíš se dvakrát řece (“You can’t drown in the same river twice”) and will be paying a visit to the Fléda club in Brno. Two singles from the album have been released so far – Pod nebem nebe (“Sky under the sky”) and Stát. The afterparty after the concert will be conducted by Dj Alyaz.
Musica Folklorica is to perform in Brno’s Metro Music Bar. In the first part of the concert they will play pieces from their repertoire and in the second half of the programme they will be presenting songs from the album Smrti, milá smrti, which is being christened that evening. Martin Hrbáč will be performing as a guest.
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.
An interview between Kateřina Bajo, the main coordinator for the membership of Prague as a city of literature in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and David Dittrich, main coordinator for the membership of Brno as a city of music in the same network. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was set up in 2004 and its main aim is to support cooperation and international cooperation and creativity. Now it brings together 180 member cities from 72 countries from around the world. The cities fall into 7 creative areas – literature, music, design, film, gastronomy, traditional crafts and media. A city applying for membership in the network has to fulfil very strict criteria, and it must be supported not only by the commission of experts but also by all the member cities.
As part of the tour which has been in progress since the spring, on 28 November the group Zrní (which translates as Grain) will be coming to Fléda in Brno. They are performing their latest album called Jiskřící (Sparkling). The members of the group (four Honzas and one Ondra) reacted to our questions collectively, with only the responses of Honza Unger as the author of the lyrics sometimes coming to the forefront.
Many comebacks tend to provide rather a nostalgic or even sad perspective on something that will never return. There are however exceptions that prove the rule. Gaia Mesiah returned with its own verve and perhaps even greater energy than before. There were goose bumps at Fléda on Wednesday both among the audience and on stage.