Fifteenth music presentation session for the blind and visually handicapped took place on 15th of May 2019 in the presentation room of Czech agency SONS (Czech Blind United) in Prague. I was really honored for very positive feedback from the previous sessions, therefore I prepared a playlist based on visitors’ preferences and also added some pieces to expand their musical horizons. You can find the background of this story in an article about the first session here.
List of songs and their final scores:
Congratulations to LP, Robohands and The Cranberries.
|01 – Jack White – Love Is Blindness||13.5|
|02 – Sabrina Claudio – Creation||4|
|03 – Robohands – Lament||15.5|
|04 – LP – Muddy Waters (Live)||21.5|
|05 – King Krule – Easy Easy||6|
|06 – Ebony Ark – A Merced De La Lluvia||14.5|
|07 – Yours Truly – High Hopes||5|
|08 – Jaromír Nohavica – Tři Rohy Penalta||9|
|09 – Binkbeats, Maxime Barlag – Ghost (Live)||8|
|10 – The Cranberries – Lost||15|
|11 – Bonus – Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton – Can’t Find My Way Home||14|
During the previous sessions I have used number of songs which I truly love, therefore it is getting more challenging to come up with more and more songs. Luckily there are many that I come up based on listeners’ feedback or from my current journalism or personal experiences, which I share in between songs. My guests surprise me each time with their preferences, which pushes me to pick “extremes”. I usually concentrate on prog rock or ambient jazz, but I am more than open to add everything from experimental metal through avant-garde electronics or lounge jazzy pop.
It’s a tradition we start with something heavy and energetic. My roommate and the best friend told me she loves this track. Next to it, so time ago, I met a very interesting girl, which also loves his work. So there were couple or reasons, but I didn’t need much conviction as this track is hell of a catchy. To be fully honest, I didn’t know the original version from U2 and the fact The Edge’s break-up had a major effect on the development of the song. Well, Jack’s version of this track is also very powerful. “Damn, this was good,” which I heard from the audience, was a good start.
During the previous sessions, about a third of all tracks I played were discoveries through Spotify. I am an active user for the past two years and it’s rather scary how precise the recommendations can be. Lately I am really into smooth jazzy soul and Sabrina caught my attention already some time ago. She is beautiful and her voice is keeping up with her physical beauty. Her score was not as high, as she deserves, but if you look at her views on YouTube, some tracks have millions, some few thousands. Her future is open and very bright.
Robohands was another Spotify discovery, but it happened just few weeks ago. The track Lament doesn’t lead you to progressive lands or changes its atmosphere every thirty seconds. But the leading melody is so strong, it carries the track for more than five minutes and it makes a perfect sense. Audience votes were heading this direction intensively.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know much about LP. I just knew she won over the crowd in my hometown at Colours of Ostrava festival and her track Lost On You was played on mainstream radios quite intensively. But I started truly respecting her based on our personal meeting in Prague before her recent second sold-out show. She was energetic, unique but incredibly friendly. She did four face-to-face interviews that day, majority being video. Some TV crews were slightly pushy with stand-ups and asking for greetings from LP to their viewers. I just wanted to make sure, we are having relaxed talk about topics as table tennis, Metallica or her plans to build a studio on the beach in Greece. In the end, LP asked if I will be at the show. I confirmed, as I was going with a friend Veronika which loves her very much and even looks a bit like her. During the final chat I asked for an autograph for her. She did not only write a nice message for Veronika, but she also gave me two aftershow passes. It was a nice surprise, as I just asked for the autograph. She said she enjoyed the questions and I was also the only one who did not ask for a selfie. I brought Veronika an autograph for her and kept the invitation as a secret bonus. But when I showed her two backstage passes she said: “I can’t do this. I am a huge introvert. It would kill me. This means a lot and the fact, I was invited is enough for me.” Thank you, but I will not go.” It took me a while, to digest it, but it gave me a totally new perspective. Veronika enjoyed LP show anyway and my audience enjoyed this story as well, before I played them LP’s breathtaking performance of Muddy Waters.
I foking love England. It might be a nest for modern Europe, but at the same time it seems so rough, dirty and unpromising. Listening to this track you can have that teenage imagination of whole world being against you and you want to release all the frustrations. King Krule was recommended to me by great alumni girl from my alma mater in Prague. King Krule might not be the biggest “I don’t give a f*ck” badass, but he seems like it. Next to it, Beyoncé said she loves this track and recommends it to her fans. Who could say that? Plus, even more thug-life was his reaction to this fact: “It doesn’t surprise me. I think my music’s good.”
This next track A Merced De La Lluvia was a special pick for one of the older guests. This lady comes with her dog every time and asked me once, if I could pick something with Spanish or Portuguese lyrics as she goes for the language classes. It became a tradition since, mainly concentrating on female fronted bands. When I was fourteen, I decided I wanted to specialize on something and as I liked couple of female fronted bands as The Gathering, Lacuna Coil or early Evanescence already, I ended up monitoring hundreds of bands with female singers all over the world. I found many great albums and one of them was also Ebony Ark’s debut album Decoder. It had an old school gothic metal sound, with very fast progressive song structures. Mood changes were great and everything topped by a massive vocal of Beatriz Albert. Their name popped up in my head over time once again during my marketing master studies in Barcelona, where I was asked by my Spanish teacher to name some Spanish artists. These guys were first what came to my mind and I remembered them these days again and I picked a track from 2008 called A Merced De La Lluvia. It is the Spanish version of their track from 2004’s album Decoder, known as Searching For An Answer. Mrs. Vondráčková enjoyed it very much, as well as everybody else.
After The Break
If stay within female fronted area, I dare to say I had a solid crush on early Paramore. No matter what are your genre preferences, you must feel that energy in their live performance of Let The Flames Begin. I feel exactly the same values in the young Australian band Yours Truly, which popped to me randomly on Czech rock TV station. It may seem as a random in-your-face high school punk rock, but the song structure has a solid balance of progressive mood changes. There is so much freedom, unaffected honesty and unspoiled pureness. Good luck guys and rather follow a rough path of Belgian trio Brutus then today’s Paramore.
Jaromír Nohavica is a very popular Czech folk singer from my hometown Ostrava. His emotional, semi-patriotic tracks are enjoyed either in the late night bars or at festivals with massive crowd choral. He has also very unique skill for sentiment and football anthems. All of these qualities reflected on the track Tři Rohy Penalta where he sings about childhood of every footballer: “Victory was everything and a draw was not interesting. Whole fell on the ground was dead or heavily injured. When your mother called you from a balcony, it was not a tactical replacement. We were young and the life was ahead of us.” His reputation was significantly affected by him recently accepting an award from Putin. There was a rather big negative wave or reactions from Czech intellectuals and his massive Polish fan club among many. I also didn’t hesitate to criticize. This was completely new experience for our evenings as there were also few who supported Nohavica and defended him for getting this award for practically academic work on traditional Russian music. Our discussion lasted for about fifteen minutes rather wildly but respectfully. We closed it by thanking each other for sharing.
So we rather moved to another track which was another Spotify discovery. This track is simply spectacular: Multiple instruments, looper and two melancholic vocals putting the atmosphere to insane level. When the track ended, one of the guests with not heavy visual handicap took an opportunity and explained what effect the video had on him. “It’s incredible, how main performer handles all instruments by himself. Any decent imperfections sound perfectly natural.” He was also one of the few Nohavica supporters, but I really appreciated he helps me further providing extending the experience for the guests.
It was very similar with The Cranberries. One of the most stable guests Vladimír wrote me, he really enjoys their latest album In The End and it would be a perfect ending to our sessions by making a memory to Dolores O’Riordan, who left us recently. These guys meant a lot to me, when I was a kid, as I really love their debut album. Next to it, my father used to play their albums a lot on our family trips in the car. Plus I really loved Dolores debut solo album. But I didn’t enjoy much of their work lately and was hesitating even to check their latest album In The End. I feel bad about it, as I believe these sort of “moving away from the artists” didn’t help them, especially if they had a physical problems, plus if plenty of their long term listeners felt the same. Track Lost is an example of the best qualities of The Cranberries though and the whole audience that night truly missed Dolores.
For the bonus track we agreed with the most stable guests, we would always ask someone from the audience to pick a track. As we had three first-timers, one of the ladies stepped up and introduced a track Can’t Find My Way Home played by Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton. She said it means a lot to her based on its atmosphere and the fact, it takes her to a different world every time.
Next session will be on 20th of June.