Posts Tagged ‘Music’


Communist song used in TV Prima’s Polar Express teaser

In Culture,Entertainment,Music on December 8, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

TV Prima’s “secondary” channel named Prima Cool is known for unorthodox visual style, so as to appeal to younger audiences. However, today I saw a teaser trailer for Polar Express, which is a family movie, if not a Christmas fairytale for children. For some reason, the background music for the teaser was The Internationale, which is the official “anthem” of social democrats, communists, the former Soviet Union (1922 to 1944), etc. I will have to ask the spokesperson of the TV station about it…



Czech-Slovak Got Talent winner: a duo of gymnasts DaeMen.

In Culture,Entertainment,Media,Music on November 28, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

[VIDEO INSIDE] Normally, the “Got Talent” shows search for talented artists in their respective countries. This country is an exception. TV Prima (Czech Republic) joined forces with TV Joj (Slovakia) in search for “Czechoslovak” (or “Czecho-Slovak”) talent. And the winner is: a duo of gymnasts DaeMen. The other two of the three “top finalists” were magician-entertainer Richard Nedved and operatic pop singer Marian Zazrivy.

Fourteen finalists included solo singers (e.g. daughter of NHL goaltender Dominik Hasek), duets, dance formations or magicians. This time the three judges had no say because the winner was announced based on the highest number of SMS votes sent by TV viewers. The prizes include EUR 100,000 and a contract for some performances in Las Vegas.

The show background is very interesting. TV Nova (the biggest player on the Czech TV market) missed its chance to obtain the license from FremantleMedia, so they immediately came up with the very same concept of their own. They call it Talentmania… and it is broadcast on the same days as Got Talent.


Karel Gott won his 36th annual popularity award

In Culture,Media,Music on November 28, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

There are several kinds of music awards in the Czech Republic. One of them is based on actual achievements and is awarded by an “academy”. And there is one that is based solely on popularity. It is called The Czech Nightingale (Cesky slavik) and it dates back to the period of communism. This year’s “singer of the year” award went, again, to Karel Gott. It is his 36th award of that name.

Gott is a good singer of his genre and he definitely works hard. On the other hand, he does not produce new albums very often and his actual achievements during this year are not worth mentioning at all. The fact that he keeps winning is that he became, sort of, a legend. He has thousands of die-hard fans among the 45+ audience, not to mention the 60+ audience. In other words, he is “their” singer and he is one of the few certainties some people have left. The fact that they cast their vote for him via SMS is one of the things that keep their worlds from falling apart, as the world around them keeps changing.

The fact that music enthusiasts cannot find anybody else to vote for is interpreted by some critics as “still waters of Czech mentality”, which is sometimes referred to as “musty but warm”.

Having an award show in December just to tell musicians we like them, no matter what they have done during the particular year is strange, of course. But since the award show is broadcast by a commercial TV station, it is possible to wave it off just by saying it is a part of the music business. Plus, when it comes to Karel Gott, no award show is going to make him more or less popular than he is now…  

Photo (c) Denik Sip (


The Harlem Gospel Singers to perform in Prague

In Culture,Entertainment,Prague,Religion on November 25, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

Czech music enthusiasts will once again have the opportunity to see and listen to the Harlem Gospel Singers. They will perform at the Prague Congress Center on December 14. The interesting aspect of their performances in the Czech Republic is the fact that many audience members don’t even understand the lyrics and their real message, i.e. they fail to realize they are clapping to the rhythm of a church song. 

Crowd participation is a very important part of the live performance of the Harlem Gospel Singers. They sing hymns and Czechs crowds follow even though they have no idea about the meaning. Oh Happy Day is a good example. The most recognizable text is easy to comprehend and seems to have nothing to do with religion. But it is, after all, a part of a 1967 gospel music arrangement.

Sure, it is entertainment – but it is also a little disrespectful. The question is: to whom. Dancing and clapping and singing in churches is a key aspect of religion in Alabama and other Southern states, so when a religious Czech person does it at a HGS concert here, it is kind of like cheating on their religion…


Brno ice hockey club says “hell no” to vuvuzelas

In Brno,Culture,Music,Sports on June 29, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , , ,

Vuvuzela has become a phenomenon. And phenomena tend to spread from the country of origin to the rest of the world. Sport is a good example, because now many Czech first-league teams have cheerleaders. Some officials are afraid that vuvuzelas, if introduced to Czech crowds, would destroy the traditional atmosphere that is based on singing and chanting.

HC Kometa Brno (Brno hockey club) decided to say no why it still can: it issued a warning according to which people carrying vuvuzelas will not be allowed to enter the arena, even if they have (season) tickets, the news server wrote.

According to several news outlets, more and more people have been asking for vuvuzelas in stores that sell musical instruments. However, as most clubs and their arenas already have their lists of forbidden items, it will be no problem to add one more…

Musical instruments that can frequently be seen in the Czech Republic include small trumpets or drums…


New regulation will ban street performances. Artists protest

In Brno,Culture,Entertainment,Music,Travel on June 4, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,


Hundreds of artists, performers and ordinary people are going to protest against a new regulation in the streets of Brno on Friday afternoon. The lawmakers meant well: they wanted to get drunk individuals who beg for “some change” out of downtown Brno. The regulation would apply to drinking in public in general, i.e. to foreign tourists who would enjoy a can of beer on a park bench (even though the Mayor of the borough argued that the purpose of the regulation is not to harass tourists, a cop having a bad day could fine them…).

The regulation equally applies to buskers – i.e. to people you can find in every major city in the world. You can’t even imagine some cities without them, e.g. Kenny G.-like saxophone players near Pont Neuf in Paris.

While some cities encourage street performances because they contribute to their atmosphere, any guitar case on a sidewalk with coins in it will mean trouble for the amateur musician who does not beg. He or she just lets people decide themselves. If you like it, your kind contribution will be appreciated…

It is a common thing in the Czech Republic that laws and regulations have unwanted side effects. When a new regulation was adopted according to which it was illegal to hold a cell phone while driving, I found out that the regulation would equally apply to drivers of siren-and-light emergency vehicles en route to accidents, crime scenes etc… The same seems to be the case here… the councillors wanted to eliminate begging for money and they ended up harassing street performances.

The Mayor of the City of Brno (not to be confused with the aforementioned Mayor of the borough) admitted that should the regulation cause trouble he is prepared to amend it… How typical…


Czech-Slovak Idol 2009 theme song: wow

In Culture,Entertainment,Media,Music,People on December 1, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

NOTE: please ignore this post for the time being, the video that is linked below was removed from YouTube due to copyright claims. I am trying to find a new one…

This year the Idol contest is a joint effort of both Czech and Slovak organizers. I rarely watched the previous seasons, but this season kicks ass: these finalists are really good. They can sing, the girls are gorgeous and the men are good-looking enough for the music industry. Here they are performing the theme song of this season, written by one of the judges:


You Raise Me Up in Czech: monumental song turned into cheesy ballad

In Culture,Entertainment,Music on November 7, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

Weird. Josh Groban, Westlife or Celtic Woman kicked ass with You Raise Me Up. Czech singer Josef Vagner did not.


How can she wash her genitals, said a judge on the Czech “Idol” show

In Culture,Media,Music on September 15, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,



I will sue the judges, said a contestant on the Czech-Slovak “Idol” (Cesko-slovenska superstar) to the Blesk daily after she learned how the judges commented on her appearance.

Radka Semivanova, 22, wants to sue judges-singers Pavol Habera and Marta Jandova who reacted to the fact that Semivanova is overweight. According to a transcript of the off-the-air (but still on-camera) conversation, Jandova said: Pardon my French, but how can she wash her genitals?, to which Habera responded: And how can she wipe her butt?, Jandova: She can’t.

Jandova was surprised when she was asked about the insult, but later admitted she had been impolite (journalists showed her the incriminating footage).

Another strange thing is that this is a TALENT show. And yet the judges felt the need to recommend to Semivanova to stop eating hamburgers. I thought that being overweight does not disqualify you as a star singer discovered in a talent show: cf. Ruben Studdard, for example.


Czech Television will air BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. A must-see…

In Culture on September 12, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

The public-service Czech Television will air BBC’s Last Night of the Proms tonight. I think it is one of the most interesting cultural events. I always enjoy the patriotic songs, especially Land of Hope and Glory. I used to think it was an ordinary graduation song for U.S. university students, but then I learned what it actually meant to the citizens of the United Kingdom. And I saw Sir Mark Elder one year — brilliant.

I do have to admit, though, that I never understood why people move “up and down” right before the finale of Land of Hope and Glory. Anyone?

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