Folk & Country
Summer courses of the Guitar Institute are coming up soon – a five-day series of lessons, workshops and outdoor concerts in Brno cafés and clubs. This year's lecturers include Klára Hemplová, David Pšenčík and Gabriel Červeňák. During the courses, participants can choose among genres such as rock & heavy, jazz-blues, pop-folk (acoustic guitar), flamenco or classical music.
For four days, the centre of Brno turned into a vibrant metropolis full of music of many genres that were heard virtually everywhere. Brno reaffirmed during this extended weekend that it deserves to be a UNESCO City of Music. Most of the productions were free of charge, the paid ones were sold out and even the shows were added. The attendance estimated by the organizer is 35 thousand people. It was played in the squares, in the streets, on the balconies, but also in the underground, in the town hall, in the arcade or in the churches. This year's specials were concerts in four street rooms by the artist Kateřina Šedá.
Four days of August, twenty-two music stages, dozens of concerts and performances, hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators. All this is promised by the Brno Music Marathon 2019 international festival, which will burst out in just a week, on 8 August 2019. Concerts in the streets and squares will be accessible for free, featuring among others Jana Kirschner, Khoiba, Motionhouse and NoFit State Circus, Monika Bagárová, Jan P. Muchow & The Antagonists, Progres 2, Žamboši or Pacora Trio with Denisa Kopačková. Buskers will play in dwelling rooms on the streets, barrel organ players will appear as part of their 10th international meeting. DJ Jon Hopkins, known for his cooperation with Coldplay, will also come to Brno. Cirk La Putyka and Pokáč are coming, and Lázně Rašínova [Rašínova Spa] will be occupied by opera singers and synchronised swimming. Music will sound also in the underground, in a mall, in churches, in a hotel or in the Town Hall.
The 27th annual session of the Beseda u Bigbítu [Debate over Bigbeat] will take place traditionally in Tasov near Veselí nad Moravou. The festival represents the independent music scene and hosts bands from all over the world. Among the most eagerly anticipated groups this year are International Teachers of Pop from the UK, The Kill Devil Hills from Australia and Algiers from Atlanta.
On Saturday, the opening of the Folk Holidays international festival in Náměšť nad Oslavou will take place. This year, the festival enters its 34th season with names such as Edmar Castañeda, Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita, Félix Lajkó & VOŁOSI, Rura, Lenka Dusilová, Hana and Petr Ulrych or Spiritual Quintet.
Traditionally, the beginning of the summer holidays is accompanied by the festival Boskovice – for the Jewish Quarter. This year's 27th edition will be launched by the Les Bubbey Mayse quartet from France, inspired by Klezmer and traditional Yiddish songs. The musical program also features concerts of bands such as Neurobeat, Khoiba, Kittchen & Aid Kid with Tomáš Neuwerth or Panenské plameny.
The multi-genre festival held under the title of Brno Marathon of Music has published a part of its main programme today. During the four days of the festival, traditional "streetless busking", a meeting of organ players, an event called "Endless Organ" at the Jesuit Church and another one named Pianoštafeta [Piano Relay Race] in the Alfa Mall will take place in the city centre. Performers such as DJ Jon Hopkins from Britain, the dance circus group Motionhouse and NoFit State or Cirk La Putyka will come to perform in Brno. The local scene will be represented by the ensemble Hausopera with their show entitled The Last Polo, which will take place directly in the swimming pool of a spa.
The Brno funk-folk group Kupodivu [Surprisingly Enough] is releasing an album named Živočišné pudy [Animal Instincts]. After the EP's Písně kapesní [Pocket Songs] (2014) and Kupodivu [Surprisingly Enough] (2017), this is already their third serial record. The album contains 13 songs. The launch of the CD will take place at ArtBar Druhý Pád.
The festival "with no fences and no admission fees" will be held in the Brno Lužánky Park this year as well. Over fifty events will take place on total of five The Stage s over the weekend. The programme includes musical performances, theatrical shows, film screenings, workshops and author readings. The music scene is represented by names such as Arve Henriksen and David Kollar, Dorota Barová and Jiří Šimek, The BladderStones, Brünnwerk or Songs From Utopia.
After two years the Symposium: Art | Music | Management is returning to Brno’s JAMU (Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts). Three days in April will be given over to debate, new ideas and exchanging of contacts between professionals, teachers and students. The 7th Symposium promises more than thirty lecturers from four countries and an accompanying programme. This time the symposium focuses on the education of artistic, and primarily music managers.
As a UNESCO-listed city of music, Brno has had four festival days full of music and dance. Tens of concerts and performances with hundreds of performers took place at twenty-two music venues. Music in the streets sounded on every corner, but most attention this year was attracted by four rooms by the artist Kateřina Šedá, in which artists of different genres and nationalities took turns. Another attraction was the performances of the British Motionhouse and No Fit State Circus, who repeatedly enchanted the Náměstí Svobody Square with their acrobatic pieces and breathtaking performances. Two large stages were also set up – Dominik Stage on Dominikánské Square and Django Stage on Malinovského Square, on which appeared artists such as Jana Kirschner, Monika Bagárová, minus123minutes or Jan P. Muchow & The Antagonists. Traditionally, the festival was accompanied by the sound of barrel organs whose players met in Brno as part of their 10th international meeting. This year, singer and multi-instrumentalist Tinatin Tsereteli (Hannover) and violinist Nicola Manzan (Bologna) as artists from UNESCO partner cities of music also premiered at the Brno Music Marathon. The atmosphere of the festival is captured in the video below.
Folkové prázdniny [Folk Holidays] in Náměšť nad Oslavou is a festival standing out with its dramaturgy, structure and atmosphere. Every season has its own theme, every evening has its own theme, and even some individual performances have their own themes. The long-time programme director Michal Schmidt managed this year to excellently balance Czech premiéres and truly extraordinary projects with reappearances and sure bets. This year's theme of Folkové prázdniny was About the Soul; however, this week-long event has its soul every year.
The group Nebeztebe (a pun containing both "Not without You" and "Heaven from You) literally shone in the Brno scene a few years ago. The five-member line-up, with its marked rhythms, seemingly above styles, celebrated victory at Porta and headed for the giant multi-genre festivals. Under bandleader Štěpán Hulc seemingly the band went to sleep and only returned this year with a brand new, three-member line-up. The new Nebeztebe is made up of guitar, violin and mandolin and has not given up on taking a multi-genre approach. Once more they are giving concerts and are coming out with the concept album Zásobování duše (which might be translated as Supplying the Soul).
The Slunce [Sun] Festival in Strážnice will be held for the twentieth time this year. Especially lovers of folk music and classical big beat have marked the dates of 12th and 13th July in their calendars. We talked to the director of the Slunce Festival Pavel Kopřiva about the history of the festival, its top moments and hardships, as well as what this year's festival season will be like.
Why be one of the many average bands when we can be a unique band? The ten-year history of the Brno group Kupodivu could be squeezed into this motto. In 2009, saxophonist Jaroslav Pilný and keyboard player Petr Šašinka first talked about forming a band. In 2019, the band Kupodivu [Surprisingly Enough] is releasing its first full-length album. Exactly in the middle of this ten-year period, in 2014, an important change took place when the original folk band was transformed into an interesting shape with keyboards, saxophone and bass, but without a guitar. The line-up, which resembles rather jazz bands in recent years, has scored at a lot of folk festivals in recent years. Kupodivu won the Porta award for authors, the Rada Notování [Council of Notation] award, won the Moravský vrabec [Moravian Sparrow], and won second place at the Mohelnický dostavník [Mohelnice Stagecoach]. At all these venues they performed music that rather than campfires fits into city clubs, and by far not only folk ones. The album Živočišné pudy [Animal Instincts] summarizes the band's work so far in a dignified way, underlined by the quality sound from the Zlín Studio V.
Over the four years that divide the release of the first album Záhir, and the second one entitled O Písni [About the Song], Lee Band virtually moved on (previously they stated Adamov as their domicile, now it is Jedovnice), they got on a "wild card" to the Porta festival semifinals in Řevnice, and above all, they advanced slightly in their musical style. While the debut album was more about a folk-rock mainstream, benefiting from the sound of an electric guitar, the new album is dominated by acoustic guitars, often in combination with mandolin and other acoustic instruments.
One of the musical highlights of last week was the concert of the Malina Brothers with two unique guest musicians, Kateřina García and Charlie McCoy in the Sono Centre in Brno. And because the performance was recorded on a professional video for the band’s first live DVD, the evening itself was extraordinary both in its length and quality.
"In the past, old people used to be as old as we allegedly are today" sings Slávek Janoušek in his song Alzheimer and Parkinson. The songwriter, who celebrated his 65th birthday last September, found aging as an extremely powerful theme for his new album. Tohle je vzkaz [This Is a Message] is an album not only about incrementing years of age, but also about how we increasingly appreciate our families and our roots as we “grow old“. Although we can find very strong moments in all Janoušek's albums, Tohle je vzkaz can be perceived as the third part of the trilogy of his most powerful recordings – Kdo to zavinil [Whose Fault Is It] (1988), Tancuj a zpívej [Dance and Sing] (1997) and Tohle je vzkaz [This Is a Message] (2018).
The Slovak group Kiero Grande, two Polish bands and the Brno musician Jan Fic with his solo project progressed from the competition Blues Aperitiv to the international festival Blues Alive in Šumperk. Jan, or Honza as he is informally called, who under the label Red Bird Instruments makes cigar box guitars and other instruments, is otherwise known as the frontman of The Weathermakers, playing their raw blues even at Porta. And in several festivals he appeared as leader of the mock country group The Honzíci. The interview that follows took place on the occasion of the release of the solo album Město (City), which Jan Fic together with the producer Martin Kyšperský officially presented on 17 December in Brno’s Stereo – Vinyl Culture Shop.