Today we are going to take a trip back in time because it was thanks to the artist I'm going to write about today, that I picked up a guitar and started my musical journey. Sometimes you cross paths with someone who completely changes your direction and your life.
Karel Zich was the youngest of three siblings, studied sociology and aesthetics at university but never pursued a career in those fields. Music was the love of his life. He started playing the piano as a child, later adding the guitar. The meeting with Jiri Tichota, the leader of popular folk group Spiritual quintet, proved life-changing for Karel. They met in 1969 during student strike at university. Karel was playing the guitar there and after a couple of songs it was clear to Jiri that this young man would be a welcomed addition to his ensemble. It was there when Karel started playing the 12-string guitar which was asociated with him from then on. His vitruoso playing and captivating vocal became a part of this legendary group for a long time. Karel went on to pursue a solo career in 1973 and joined Spiritual quintet again in 1993, remaining there till his untimely death on July 13th 2004 when he died of a heart attack in Corsica. He was 55 years old.
It's hard to point out exactly what was that called my attention but it was without doubt the 12-string guitar and the voice. The voice that calms you down when you're in need. One of his colleagues in Spiritual quintet later said that he had the ability to feel the music the way African-Americans feel it. Which is a big advantage when you sing spirituals, don't you think? Let me add a personal note here - I have always loved his smiling eyes.
There many beautiful songs so let me give you an idea and choose one from his solo career
one with Spiritual quintet
and here is a Czech version of an Elvis Presley song. Karel Zich used to be called Czech Elvis Presley because of the similarity of his voice to Elvis'. Listen for yourselves
Karel was incredibly kind human being, always cared a lot about others. A man with the golden heart. The only thing I regret is not having more time to spend in each other's company. You don't befriend your heroes every day. I feel fortunate to have had that opportunity. I was deeply saddened when I learnt about his passing, didn't want to believe it at first...He will always have a special place in my heart...