Northern Ireland's Peter Wilson, or Duke Special as he's known on stage, is without doubt one of the most original songwriters out there. He's been coming to Czech republic regularly for almost a decade and local audience has seen many different layers of his creativity but nothing like this. On Wednesday June 21st, as a part of the Valassky spalicek festival, Duke brought a truly unique production to Valmez. This production is called Under the Dark Cloth and it connects the photography as an art form and the music.
There are nights when it doesn't matter how many people are in the room, sometimes less means time for more intimate songs and you feel like in someone's living room. This was the case of the Saturday night, June 3rd in Stara pekarna in Brno where the Irish songwriters Bob O'Keeffe, from Wexford but currently based in Prague, and Marty Ryan, also known as Anna's Anchor (from Limerick), were the stars of the night.
There are bands that have been playing for years but you may not have a chance to come across them but there are others that have been playing for a short period of time but put themselves on the map. Young indie rock band Her English Blood certainly belongs to the second category. After playing just for a year they now released their debut album Only Breathing and the launch took place on April 18th in Prague. Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard was supposed to be a very special guest of the night.
Glen Hansard has been coming to Czech Republic for 16 years and his relationship with Czech people is very close. He calls the town of Valasske Mezirici (or Valmez for short) his second home. It was there that he met Marketa Irglova with whom he won the Oscar for Falling slowly of the movie Once. Now Glen is back in Czech Republic for a private visit and set up an intimate gig in his favourite town on Easter Sunday April 16th. It was a last-minute event but an intimate feel promised a unique experience that attracted people from all over.
Lasse Matthiessen isn’t an unknown name for Czech audience anymore. He returned there for a few shows this March and brought a band with him which promised a different experience from solo shows. His Thursday stop was Brno where he played a year ago but in a different venue.
Some live shows need to be seen to be understood. That's the case of Hothouse Flowers too. The band has been playing for over 30 years and getting great reception around the world. They're deeply spiritual, full of energy that goes way beyond just one night. And when you see them playing in front of a home audience, that's really something else. Vicar street was packed on Sunday night and you could feel the anticipation.
There is a Celt inside everyone of us and that’s why we like the tunes from Ireland, Scotland and all these parts of the world so much. Those who went to the Stara pekarna club in Brno on Thursday could enjoy an evening of this kind of music lead by fiddle player Jitka Malczyk and guitarist Vojtech Jindra whom some of you might know from the band Bran or from playing with an Irish songwriter J Eoin.
Do you believe in magic? Not the supernatural one but the one when there's no need to say anything, when you just feel the love and connection. Thursday February 2nd marked the 1st anniversary of the death of Fergus O'Farrell of Interference, singer with a golden voice and inspiring human being. Glen Hansard gathered friends and collaborators to celebrate the man. The first gig took place on February 2nd at Cork Opera House and the second one was in Vicar street in Dublin on February 5th. You could certainly feel the magic there.
15 years ago Ireland lost one of greatest songwriters of his generation. Mic Christopher died tragically on November 29th 2001, aged just 32. To mark the anniversary, Glen Hansard gathered friends on Tuesday in Vicar street to celebrate music and life of the charismatic musician who had a huge impact on so many people.
Brno Gospel days, organized by Brno Gospel Choir (which is lead by Zuzana Petlanova), became a tradition in this time of the year. As a part of this event there's always a concert in the Church of Holy Family where everyone can come and sing. You don’t have to be a believer, love for gospel music and will to sing is enough. Another part of Brno Gospel days is a weekend workshop lead by experienced lecturers. This is year was no exception and the workshop was lead by an experienced choirleader from Denmark, Rune Herholdt who came to Brno for the third time. Back home he leads a big gospel choir and is also a member of a swing quartet Gospel Brothers. His liveliness gets everyone who sees him live, he gives himself to people while being on stage and you feel he just can't be without the contact with people. He´s so charismatic, throws smiles around and once you see him singing you won't get it out of your head.