The Ibérica festival of Ibero-American Culture is celebrating twenty years and will once again bring Spanish flamenco stars to the Czech Republic. This year, the festival will visit Prague, Vyškov, Zdounek, Čech pod Kosířem and Velké Opatovice, but will be centered in Brno as usual. The event will also feature a gastronomic showcase in the courtyard of Brno’s Old Town Hall.
The festival presents its evening program in six cities, which includes nearly thirty multi-genre events, performances, concerts, improvisations and student presentations. In Brno, for example, it will present a multi-genre stage adaptation of Bára Basiková’s cult book, a chamber recital by chansonnier Nadia Válová and opera singer Kateřina Beranová, presentations of the festival’s dance workshops and Martin Kyšperský along with dance instructors from the ProART Festival.
A new project titled the European Dance Competition Brno 2023 is being developed at the Brno National Theatre - an international dance competition for students of dance conservatories and professional ballet schools from all over Europe from ages 12 years to graduation. The aim of the competition is to become a platform for discovering, supporting and promoting new promising dance talents.
For the fourth time, the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble will present the Evenings with Ondráš benefit series. During two evenings in June, this artistic ensemble will play and dance the best of its repertoire in the open air in the courtyard of Brno’s Špilberk Castle. Together with them this year, the Pilsen folk ensemble Mladina will perform.
Today is International Dance Day. The celebrations will close with a Ballet Gala at the Janáček Theatre
For the fourth year in a row, audiences could visit the courtyard of Špilberk Castle and enjoy the dance art of the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble from Brno in a series called Evenings with Ondráš. This year, on the two days of 15 and 16 June, those interested once again saw the best that the company currently has to offer. Moreover, the concerts were fundraisers, with the money raised going to the Military Solidarity Fund. I will take a look at the second, Friday evening, during which Ondráš invited his friends from the Mladina ensemble of Pilsen to the stage.
Folklore enthusiasts from all over Moravia met in the reconstructed hall of the largest Czech Sokol Hall on Kounicova Street in Brno. The traditional seventy-first ball was organised by the Slovácký krúžek Brno Club on Saturday 21 January. Two associations with a deep First Republic tradition were thus connected, and it seemed that they had shared a natural common bond all that time.
Traditions, costumes, songs and often special food. This is the basis of folk culture, which is strongly rooted in Moravia. Interest in it has been growing recently – the Czech Republic is taking it as one of the bases of its promotion for domestic and foreign tourists. What is folklore actually about? Are young people coming back to it? And what makes it interesting? We interviewed Marie Hvozdecká, a music editor focusing on folklore at Czech Radio and also a long-time programmer of the folklore scene at the Brno Music Marathon Festival. As she says, “having an interest in folk music is a good thing. However, in order to remake it into a new form, one must know its origin and meaning, otherwise it becomes a mockery.”
The municipal council of Velká nad Veličkou decided already in mid-April that this year's Horňácké Festivities (original name: Horňácké slavnosti) would not take place on the traditional dates around the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, and their scope, previously meant to be of three to five days, would also be modified. Obviously, it was impossible to foresee the development of lockdown measures towards the third week of July, but musicians from the Horňácko district tried to come up with at least a partial alternative solution in order to maintain continuity. Eventually, two concerts were officially held on two consecutive Saturdays: On 18 July, live broadcast of a public radio recording of Czech Radio Brno under the title Hrajte že ně, hrajte aneb Horňácké trochu jinak (Play for Me, or Horňácké Festivities in a Slightly Different Fashion) took place at the Culture House in Velká nad Veličkou. A week later, at a sports complex in Javorník, a traditional competition for "the biggest expert on Horňácko peasant songs" was held under the auspices of the Horňácko Dulcimer Band of Libor Sup. Needless to say, both events have found their spectators and listeners.
After Easter, an official statement that ruined every folklore lover's day appeared on social networks and in the media. The folklore festival in Strážnice will not take place this year. The reasons are well known to everyone. Yesterday, another wave of coronavirus lockdown easement began, and this was not the only reason why we talked to Martin Šimša, director of the National Institute of Folk Culture (NÚLK) in Strážnice. Well, is there really a reason for mourning? What can we look forward to in the immediate future? And when is the best time to visit the castle park and the open-air museum in Strážnice? These questions, and not only these, will be answered in the following interview.
To write a guide to music in Brno in the past and present means digging deep into one’s own recollections and those of others as well as into sources with varying degrees of reliability, and as far as possible not believing anything automatically but always asking “Did this really happen just like that?” And in doing so, to be very, very suspicious of one’s own memory. Two basic questions that cropped up in connection with almost every sentence were “What is it about this band or that event that makes them special? Would someone who’s never been to Brno and has no ties with the city find it interesting?”
Due to the impact of extraordinary measures taken because of the Covid-19 pandemic on stakeholders of the cultural and creative industries in Brno, Brno leaders and the Department of Culture of the Brno City Municipality are working intensively on a set of precautions for minimizing the damages. At the same time, communication is conducted on all levels of public administration, predominantly in collaboration with the Institut umění – Divadelní ústav [Arts and Theatre Institute], which is mapping the situation on the nationwide level. Until 22 March 2020 you can help assess the current situation by means of an online survey (the link is provided below). Further steps will be taken according to the results of the survey.
The story of fateful love of the beautiful courtesan Marguerite and her sweetheart Armand, as we know it from the autobiographical prose The Lady of the Camellias by Alexander Dumas Jr., need not be largely introduced. One of the most famous novels of the 19th century has already been subject to a number of remakes, and now the National Theatre Brno ballet ensemble also came up with a new modern concept of this story of pain, passion and self-sacrifice.
Last year, after several years of stagnation, Brno's folklore enthusiasts woke up again and began organizing gatherings with dulcimer music, folklore parties, etc. at several different venues. This is certainly gratifying. However, motivation, experiences and concepts differ. One of them is We <3 folklore in the Metro music bar.