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American folk music in Czech Republic??

joehickerson 03 Apr 09 - 12:54 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 03 Apr 09 - 06:23 AM
Jack Campin 03 Apr 09 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Apr 09 - 10:51 AM
Jack Campin 03 Apr 09 - 11:17 AM
Jack Campin 03 Apr 09 - 11:33 AM
Jack Campin 03 Apr 09 - 05:00 PM
Jack Campin 03 Apr 09 - 08:17 PM
Jack Campin 28 Apr 09 - 11:41 AM
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Subject: Folk Music: czech republic
From: joehickerson
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 12:54 AM

My sweetie Ruth and I will be in the Czech Republic May 3-18. Ruth will be involved in rehearsals and a performance of the Defiant Requiem May 9-17 in Terezin, and I will have free time before and during these dates. We will be staying at the Hotel Moevenpick in Prague.

I am especially looking for places where I can meet with and perhaps jam with folks who are interested in American folk music, ethnomusicology, etc. I also wonder if there will be any events there commemorating Pete Seeger's 90th birthday (which occurs May 3). Pete and I have been a personal friends since 1955.

Joe Hickerson
Head Emeritus
Archive of Folk Song/Culture
American Folklife Center
Library of Congress
Washington, DC


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Subject: RE: Folklore: czech republic
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 06:23 AM

This organisation (although primarily a dance one) may be able to help as they have lots of excellent music contacts:

http://www.dvorana.cz/dance/


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Subject: RE: Folklore: czech republic
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 09:56 AM

There is a huge bluegrass scene in the Czech and Slovak Republics. A lot of music shops will have information about it, and the Wikipedia article on Czech bluegrass might be useful start.

The weirdest place I've seen a bluegrass session advertised was in Spania Dolina, a former mining village up in the hills above Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. It has one part-time shop, two pubs, a church and innumerable Catholic shrines, with the bluegrass seeming to be the only secular live entertainment they ever had. But I was there the one weekend in months that it wasn't on.

Other kinds of American folk are little known, I think.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: czech republic
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 10:51 AM

You might enjoy hearing some European while you are there. While in Prague three years ago, we greatly enjoyed the trio which played in the restaurant of our hotel. sorry I don't recall the name of the hotel, but it should be easy to find once you're in Prague.

The trio consisted of a violinist and string bass player and a player of the cimbalon, which is the huge hammer dulcimer of eastern Europe.

MOstly they played old pop tunes, but when we specifically told them that we, hotel guests and diners, were interested in traditional music, they played some for us.

When we had come into Prague from the airport, we had asked our cab driver about traditional music. He said 'The young hate it!' (Probably because they associate it with the communists.)

Later when the band played traditional music for us, the restaurant manager (about 35) came stomping over, obviously ready to raise hell. Then he saw me and the DH near the musicians, clearly the instigators, and he slunk off, defeated. I hope the big tips we left the musicians made up for the manager's ire.

One piece they played for us was a gypsy lament. It was intricate and fascinating. I felt honored to hear it.

I looked around, and other customers in the restaurant looked interested and happy too, so it wasn't only being played for us.
=======
Also, I now feel that you haven't really heard Liszt till you've heard it played on a cimbalon.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: czech republic
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 11:17 AM

It would be a great pity if Joe missed the opportunity to talk about what he knows best to an audience keen to hear about it - and there will be one.

This, about the Sam Bush Band in those parts, might point to a lead:
http://www.thebluegrassblog.com/stephen-mougin-in-slovakia/

Prague has always been a bit of a traditional music desert. The fiddle/cimbalom tradition starts further east, in Moravia - you don't have much problem hearing that sort of music in Brno, and there are a lot of young people playing it there and in Slovakia. (Moravia:Bohemia::Scotland:England, more or less). Bohemian music has always been more Germanized and the oompah band rules. But interest in bluegrass transcends that boundary. How many Czechs and Slovaks even know what old-time is, I couldn't say, but some must.

I had one of those odd place-that-tune experiences in Kosice in 2007. (Kosice is in the far east of Slovakia and has sizable Hungarian and Gypsy minorities). Walking up the main square, I found a loud electric band playing something I knew was familiar but couldn't quite place. Took me nearly the whole song to work out it was "The Banks of the Ohio" in Slovak.

I learned a useful bit of washboard technique from a Czech Dixieland band on the Charles Bridge in Prague. For some numbers, the washboard player used eggbeaters instead of thimbles. Makes a less assertive sound which comes in handy for waltzes (Scottish danceband drummers usually use brushes rather than sticks for those). The band was pretty convincing until they started singing. "Basin Street Blues" in a heavy Czech accent is a bit surreal.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: czech republic
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 11:33 AM

And more on Slovakia:
http://www.bluegrass.sk/zvonky/english/

Unfortunately the Czech and Slovak Republics are infested with dead websites and sites that never got off the ground in the first place. Searching through portals for forums about American music is a frustrating experience.


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Subject: RE: American folk music in Czech Republic??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 05:00 PM

And a business report on the Czech country music scene:

Czech Country Music Is Enduringly Popular

That certainly fits with what I've seen. Any music shop will have a shelf of books of country classics translated into Czech.


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Subject: RE: American folk music in Czech Republic??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 08:17 PM

These guys are at the old-timey end of bluegrass: Relief

Might be an idea to message likely contacts via their YouTube identities. They're more likely to be operational than email addresses or contacts via web pages.

I wonder if anybody yodels in Czech or Slovak? I haven't heard that yet.


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Subject: RE: American folk music in Czech Republic??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 11:41 AM

The Charles Bridge band I mentioned above:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKOxd2J_4Hg


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