The festival of French and francophone culture this year celebrates its 25th birthday. During the month of April Bonjour Brno will be presenting Brno with artistic productions directly from France and events inspired by the culture of the francophone countries. The programme includes concerts, films, plays, exhibitions, literary events, gastronomy and street art. There will also be the traditional Le Rendez-vous, a pétanque tournament and a children’s programme. This year’s motto is Tradition in the Move.
Clarinettist and Grammy holder Oran Etkin will perform as part of the Mladí ladí jazz [Young People Tune Jazz] in the Stará Pekárna music club in Brno. The guests of the concert will be Peter Korman, Tibor Žida, Michael Grombiřík, Dušan Čermák and Roman Horváth. For the next day, Etkin is preparing a music workshop for children, which will take place using his own entertaining teaching method called Timbalooloo.
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 album of Moravian and Silesian carols under the name Písně vánočního času (“Songs of Christmas-time”) was recorded by the group Lilium Liste. When choosing the songs, they focused on lesser known carols. The recording is an authentic interpretation of the musical legacy of the folk tradition without extensive arrangements.
Frog Biscuits is the first official album of the ensemble Playground English. The album contains 27 songs for children in English ranging from simple nursery rhymes to more complicated tales. This disc brought out under Indies Scope is not only useful for teaching English but at the same time is fully and album of music to be listened to. The production of the album Frog Biscuits was the work of Ondřej Galuška (Eggnoise and The Odd Gifts).
The ceremonial opening of the Janáček Theatre is approaching. The theatre will be opening after reconstruction with a premiere of the opera The Cunning Little Vixen, which will also open the 6th year of the Janáček Brno 2018 international opera and music festival, which this year is dedicated to the centenary of the founding of the republic. In the course of the festival all the stage works Leoš Janáček will be performed in productions by such world-famous figures as Ivo van Hove, Robert Carsen, Kornél Mundruczó and Alvis Hermanis. Tomáš Hanus, Tomáš Netopil and Marko Ivanović will be taking their places on the conductor’s podium. The operatic production of The Cunning Little Vixen is the work of the director Jiří Heřman and the musical staging is by Marko Ivanović. The title roles will be taken by Jana Šrejma Kačírková or Michaela Kušteková, Václava Krejčí Housková alternating with Jana Hrochová and Svatopluk Sem with Jiří Sulženek. The public celebratory ceremony will begin on the piazzetta in front of the Janáček Theatre.
A Century Later or How the Republic was Declared in Brno. An event being set up in cooperation between the Brno Philharmonic and the Theatre Goose on a String. On 29 October they will jointly celebrate the declaration of independence of the republic. The date is that of the official declaration of the republic in Brno, which took place with a delay of one day. The event will be accompanied by a theatrical tour of Besední dům.
In a benefit concert in Brno’s Sono Centre young artists are supporting children with oncological conditions. The concert is being organised by the Společně k úsměvu (Smile Together) association, founded by former children’s oncology patients. The association supports families whose children are going through this disease, and also the newly founded outpatient department for the treatment of later effects in Brno.
The ensemble Šafrán from Moravian Slovakia is already a traditional organiser of the Brno “fašank“. This event, in the spirit of folk traditions, always takes place on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of Christian fasting. Its roots go back to the pagan times, but it is now part of Christian feasts almost all over the world. Marches of masks in various regions of Moravia are called končiny, masopust, fašanek or, for example, šibřinky. Its ensemble parallel in Brno tries to stick to the folk pattern. It begins with a parade in Náměstí svobody Square. This year it continued through the Alfa Mall to the market building at the Cabbage Market. The end of the programme was performed by the ensemble Lučina, which showed the audience the so-called burial of a double bass. It is a custom consisting in a staged burial of this musical instrument, symbolising the end of entertainment, calming down and preparing for Easter.
A concert organised for an exceptional event took place on Thursday at ZUŠ PhDr. Zbyňka Mrkose (a primary school specialising in music) in Brno’s Židenice district. The event was given the title Cimbálový kolaudační concert (A Cimbalom Commissioning Concert. What exactly was being commissioned? From the title it was evident the main star of the programme was a cimbalom. This big instrument with its velvet tones was not the centre of attention by accident. The item being commissioned was a new cimbalom for the musical inventory of the previously mentioned music school. The manufacturer of the instrument was the Brno company of Všianský. The actual maker Pavel Všianský, a famous musician, also personally took part, telling the participants something about the construction of this instrument.
Brno City Theatre has come out with another premiere of a Czech musical in the form of Big. This musical novelty, taken from the film of the same name, will entertain children, adolescents and their parents. This musical tale is truly for all the generations. Big is a family comedy, in places also a fantasy spectacle, in others a romantic sweet piece about love or an exciting story of an impatient little boy, in which however all ends well.
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.
After a gap of three years Rózinky (which could be translated as Raisins) from the South Moravian village of Kozojídky have recorded their second album. The girls attend elementary art school together and their teacher Kateřina Mičková, who put the group together, still writes songs for them. The girls also perform together on radio and television shows and have played at various festivals from Folk Holidays in Náměšť nad Oslavou to TrutnOff. The question of whether the group will still be viable once its members grow up and mature (and probably have other musical interests and tastes) still hangs in the air. A little doubt already hangs over the disc Cvrkot (which could be translated as Chirp), but not as a threat but rather as a reason for the greater diversity on the album.
The three musketeers in fact numbered four. In the same way 3fo3 (which reads as “three fotři” – a play on words since ‘fotr’ is an unflattering term for father) is made up of four members. To the founding members of Bombarďák, Michal Dalecký, Jiří Jelínek and Filip Nebřenský, Matěj Pospíšil was added as a kind of d’Artagnan. However otherwise everything has stayed the same. Bombarďák – or rather the lyricist Jiří Jelínek – speaks to kids with a dynamic language full of fashionable and modern expressions. In the space of very brief songs (on average under two minutes) they are able to tell humorous tales full of wordplay and situational humour. One song follows on from another, mostly upbeat, with speaking as well as singing, on the borders of song and theatrical sketch, but all fitting together well.
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.
Brno is now one of the 180 cities from around the world that belongs to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Only some three dozen of these are focused on music. After Prague it is the second city in the Czech Republic to be accepted into this network. The awarded title recognises the work of artists, people working in culture, the diversity of genres and cooperation with the surrounding region.
The unique event ZUŠ Open will present on Tuesday May 30 up to a thousand musical, dance, theatre and artistic performances in 280 Bohemian, Moravian and Silesian towns and cities. Brno also will have an exceptionally rich programme tomorrow, culminating in a joint vocal performance of children with Magdalena Kožená on Moravian Square and a celebratory concert of the Mozart’s Children Festival in Besední dům together with the Brno Philharmonic. The Brno event is part of Brno’s candidacy for the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of music.
The new family comedy Jak jsem se ztratil aneb Malá vánoční povídka (How I Got Lost or a Little Christmas Story) bets on more than just a music flashback to the sweet early 1960s. The Brno National Theatre has been playing it since its weekend premiere. A seven-member band directly on stage forms the audio and narrative backdrop to the sentimental journey back in time. Older folks will emotionally reflect on the sweet "sixties", while those younger will discover this decade. And that is what the new production of director Martin Františák bets on.