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 international festival that gives space for a new generation of percussionists from both Czech and foreign conservatories and academies is entering its fifth year. During these three days, the best students of chosen classes will be performing. The programme is completed by concerts, workshops of foreign lecturers and a sales show of percussion instruments. The big events this year are the percussion workshops.
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 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.
JazzFestBrno and Poysdorf Jazz Wine invite talented young musicians to participate in the Central European Jazz Competition. Only a few days are left to the closing date for young Czech and Austrian bands. The competition is being organised jointly by the festivals JazzFestBrno and Poysdorf Jazz & Wine.
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.
On Friday 19 October the big band Cotatcha Orchestra performed in HaDivadlo with an important foreign guest: the trombonist, composer and arranger Ilja Reijngoud. After the review of the concert we are now also bringing you an interview with this Dutch jazzman, holder of a Latin Grammy and other significant awards. Reijngoud answered our questions shortly before the Brno concert.
“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.
“I play contemporary folk, without other adjectives – raging and gentle, with and without humour,” says singer-songwriter Šimon Peták of himself. He was born at the very beginning of the nineties, “a year after the old times ended” as he puts it. He comes from South Bohemia, but grew up by the Berounka, lived a short time in Prague, which apparently turned sour for him, and finally settled in Brno. “I became a dramaturge here, trained as a chimney sweep,” he continues in his verse biography, which you can find in his profile on the server Bandzone.cz. It is there that you can also not just listen to but also legally download for free Šimon’s songs from the album Homo Habitus.
It is a pity to only read an interview with Marta Kovářová, leader of the groups Budoár staré dámy. Marta is such a personality as a speaker that it is better to hear her. Or also to watch her. But on the other hand, as you will learn from the interview, which took place on the occasion of the 20th birthday of the group, a good song should be able to stand up without a pictorial accompaniment. And perhaps a good narrative will still interest us in written form.
From 30 August to 10 September the blues guitarist from Texas Jonn Del Toro Richardson will be touring the Czech Republic. One of his performances will take place in South Moravia – 2 September in the Strážničan House of Culture in Strážnice. Further concerts will take place for example on 30 August in Valašské Meziříčí, and 7 and 10 September in Ostrava. Jonn Del Toro Richardson has so far released only one solo album (a second is in preparation for 2019), but as a much sought after studio and concert guitarist he has worked with many of the top blues performers.
The first few notes of the first and last songs tell us the most important things about the new album from the group Poletíme? Beginning with sharp guitars, a rock roar and lyrics about how “we sat with the boys backstage” and “we’re good, so we probably need a hit”. At the end a waltz with accordion, sloppy vocals and words about a disgruntled band, of homelessness and of a car “that carries sheep”. Songs full of rock energy of course are part of Poletíme? and this group has a whole range of hits. Nonetheless the move from sharp rock and roll to a comfortable little waltz shows the band with Rudolf Brančovský exactly how I see them after these years: Despite all their efforts to be tough guys they are at their best when telling an ordinary story, with interesting observed details (like that of the sheep in the car) and in an ordinary song. And it is also about the humour which again abounds on the new album. And I have the feeling that this time more than before Rudolf has managed to keep the balance outside the area of awkwardness.
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.
On Monday 30 July the guest of Folk Holidays in Náměšť nad Oslavou will be the English singer-songwriter John Smith. The organisers speak of him as a “hidden treasure of exquisite folk singing” and emphasise his album from last year Headlong with its personal confessions to his wife Joanne. We spoke with Smith, who his guitar idol and model John Renbourn called “the future of folk”, by telephone.