“The Best Of” evening was a special music presentation session for the members of Czech agency SONS (Czech Blind United) in Prague, which is helping blind and visually handicapped. I am honored to present music to their members for the past year and a half and on 12/12/2018 it was a great opportunity to play the most favorite tracks from the nine sessions which took place so far.
After each session, guests have a chance to vote for their most favorite tracks. It gives me an inspiration for the upcoming playlist, but I love to expand their musical horizons at the same time. You can find the background of this story in an article about the first session here.
List of songs and their final scores of The Best Of session:
Congratulations to Markéta Irglová, Nick Hakim and Anneke van Giersbergen.
Each track includes a link on the session, where it won the first place. Each link also includes the behind the scenes story.
|01 – Agnes Obel – The Curse||12.5|
|02 – Markéta Irglová – Without a Map||18.5|
|03 – Steven Wilson – Song Of Unborn||12.5|
|04 – Madder Mortem – Where Dream & Day Collide||6.5|
|05 – Karnivool – Alpha Omega||9|
|06 – Flyleaf – Arise||12.5|
|07 – Nick Hakim – I Don’t Know||18|
|08 – Anneke van Giersbergen – Amity (Live)||13.5|
|09 – Opeth – In My Time Of Need (Live)||12|
|10 – Bonus|
At the first session, I was naturally extremely nervous. It was an honor to get such a space in the schedule of the organization, as well as incredible opportunity to share my crazy music excitement. Therefore the playlist was a huge challenge as how can a music freak squeeze all of his favorite tracks into a dozen? But eventually I was as critical, as if I was sitting there and picked the ones that I trust the most. In between each song, I tried to defend my choice as well as include a fun story. Therefore the reactions of the guests were the factor which would determine if it was a waste of time for them or not. It was rather weird, as some did react quite well, but there were also some, which didn’t do anything the whole time. But the final applause and incredibly friendly reactions at the end proved to me, they thought: “It’s great, but leave me in my space to enjoy the music.” I was mainly blown away by the feedback of one gentlemen who arrived with an assistant. He gave me his hand and said: “Thank you. It was incredible. Thank you.” That was the motivation I needed for the future sessions. Another useful factor was a an email from Agnes Obel manager Kate Whitby, who was really excited about the whole thing.
Agnes Obel’s management was luckily not the only one, who gave us great support. It was amazing, I could take few of my guests also for concerts to fully enjoy great live sound. First, it was a show of British atmospheric rock icons Anathema, which were very popular at each session. Actually, to be honest, it was mainly my fault to play them so often, as these guys were one of the reasons I started with these sessions. When I heard acoustic version of their track Anathema, I wanted the whole world to sit down and enjoy this masterpiece. Anathema’s bass player and tour manager Jamie Cavanagh brought us to the venue as first guests and arranged a table for us on the balcony. Incredible experience for all of us. Thank you. Very pleasant was also Emma Ruth Rundle who invited us to her show in Prague few weeks ago. Guys enjoyed the show, got to meet Emma in person and she said something very honest at the end: “I am sorry, I couldn’t make it to your meeting. I will do my best to come next time. My father is also blind, so it means a lot.”
Over the past months there were also plenty of artists who reacted to these sessions very positively. I am adding examples of Nick Hakim and Karnivool among others:
Space for the Czech winner
Congratulations for the first place goes to Czech singer Markéta Irglová, mainly known for her duet with Glen Hansard in the track Falling Slowly used as a soundtrack for the movie Once. She is one of the few Czech artists, which managed to establish her position internationally and became a source of a national pride. Currently living in Iceland she released Muna as her last album so far, including a brilliant track Without A Map which won the first place in the second session we organized and defended its position in the best of session winning the first place again. Wishing you all the best Markéta.
As a bonus track I included a track Můstek from Czech rock band Krausberry. It was a special request from a six years old girl, who came to last few session with her father. She is apparently used to rock music at home and drew us something every time. So in return she asked for this song and you should see the smile on her face. Always quite and shy princess suddenly started jumping and laughing. Simply beautiful.
My main intention is the keep the guests excited about each upcoming session. Therefore we are working hard to push the sound into a higher level. So far, I haven’t manage to convince any of the Prague studio’s to let us in. Therefore I was really glad one of the guests and the serviceman of SONS will start bringing his own amazing sound system he is keeping usually in the basement. Next to it, I am working hard to bring some guests every time. Ideally some of the artists, which will be played during the session. Number of guests is slowly rising with each session but we will be working harder on online promotion and inviting similar agencies to join us.
And finally, there are couple of live shows my guests showed big interest to see. Especially Riverside and Sólstafir.
So plenty of things to manage in this year.
All the best to you all in 2019
Graphics credit: metabolic_art