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Czech protest music past & present

27th October 2021 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

An online Zoom talk by Daniel Majer about the political role Czech protest music has played in Czech and Slovak history from the Austro-Hungarian empire until today.

Following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Karel Kryl composed ‘Bratříčku, zavírej vrátka’ (Keep the gates closed, little brother) as his reaction to the occupation. In 1972 the Slovak dissident Ján Ladislav Kalina was given a two-year prison sentence for, among other things, playing a record of Kryl’s songs to friends in the privacy of his home. In the eyes of the law during the period of normalization, that amounted to incitement.

In the early 1970s the Czech rock band, the Plastic People of the Universe, began using the lyrics of the poet Egon Bondy and other poets for their songs. In 1976 they were sent to prison for up to 18 months for performing at a festival which the court condemned as “an organised disturbance of the peace”.  The group continues to perform despite the death of its founder, Milan “Mejla” Hlavsa. Their music is the focus of a new book in English ‘ A consumer guide to the Plastic People of the Universe’.

In 1989 Czech musicians, many of them banned from performing or in exile, played a significant role in toppling the communist regime. In 2007 the Czech daily MFDnes published the results of a poll to name the most important song associated with the Velvet Revolution. Marta Kubišová’s ‘Modlitba pro Martu’ (Prayer for Marta) won by a landslide.

Daniel Majer, born in Britain of Czech and Slovak parentage, will present musical excerpts from Brno where he is studying as part of his course in Czech and Spanish at Bristol University.

If  you wish to participate please register with by 25 October


27th October 2021
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:

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