Twenty-seventh music presentation session for the blind and visually handicapped was very special. For the first time, it didn’t take place only in Prague, but in three locations. Ostrava: 18th of September, Pilsen: 29th of September and Prague: 30th of September 2020 in the presentation room of Czech agency SONS (Czech Blind United) in Prague. Future sessions are currently limited because of the pandemic, but so far it proved to me that there is an interest all over the country and I can count on the support from the venues, my friends and organizations for visually handicapped. You can find the background of this story in an article about the first session here.
Prague: Květa Lhotská
Pilsen: Milan Říský
List of songs and their final scores in this order: Prague, Pilsen, Ostrava.
Prague: Congratulations to Rishloo, Postmodern Jukebox, Kalandra
|01 – Kalandra – Lullaby (Live)||10|
|02 – Sinks – Professor T (Live)||2.5|
|03 – Jaf 34 – Light||9.5|
|04 – Postmodern Jukebox – Black (Pearl Jam Orchestral Cover) ft. Cortnie Frazier||12.5|
|05 – Blues Pills – Song From A Mourning Dove||7.5|
|06 – Audience choice #1 – Lisa Gerrard and The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices MANI YANNI||2|
|07 – Aprilmen – Dead Of The Night||8|
|08 – Shabaka and the Ancestors – You’ve Been Called||3.5|
|09 – Halid Bešlić – Neću Neću Dijamante (Uživo)||0|
|10 – Rishloo – Just a Ride||13|
|11 – Audience choice #2 – Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot (Live)||2.5|
|12 – Bonus – Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe (Live)||2.5|
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 experiment within genres. 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 energetic and this time I went for Norwegian alternative rock/folk/pop newcomers Kalandra. They made a great entrée to the music scene with their very interesting cover of a track called Helvegen from folk icons Wardruna. They are released their debut album on 23rd of October, however I went for their earlier track Lullaby in the impressive live setting. If you haven’t about them yet, give it a try. This guys will grow big time.
Next to international talents, I also like to share with my audience some great new artists within our home scene. Matter of fact the wilder the genre spectrum the better. Sinks from Brno fit perfectly, as they have an incredible noise post punk sound. I rarely listen to punk. But next to occasional return to the legends, I am more than happy to see if new bands take this genre further, ideally into atmospheric directions, naturally backed up with insane wave of intensity. Let say, I will never forget a show of Slaves at Colours of Ostrava festival. None of us within my friends group waited a second to take of a t-shirt and we ran into a mosh pit. I love Sinks EP June from 2019, but it is even more fascinating to see them perform live. You feel, not only because of the vocals, that these guys are some bast*rds from bad neighborhood of London. Amazing energy, incredible sound. Bright future of Czech scene.
To keep the genre spectrum even wider, I included Czech ambient artist called JAF 34 in the playlist. We got into a contact couple of months ago, when he wrote me an email. We became friends since and I must say, I am truly impressed with a spectrum of his work. There are both inspirational epic pieces as a track called Light, as well as artistic criticism of our society and modern lifestyle in the video Now, showing all aspects of our life through a mobile screen. I find the video for the song Light, which was done by JAF 34 and OXOO, fascinating. I was gladly surprised, there was a great feedback from all three locations I played this video. As an introduction I played a message video, JAF 34 recorded for us to explain the motivation behind it. In the final ratings people were complimenting its sound, deep message behind it and absolutely impressive video design. One of my good friends, she got reminded of Woodkid and one older gentleman in Pilsen dived into a space setting and remembered this article about conditions on Venus because of it. Another extremely promising name of the Czech scene.
When I made a deal with Education and Research Library of the Pilsen Region it was a big honor. It is much respected institution and the city has very progressive approach to culture. Therefore I wanted to add a name, which would be in the playlist mainly for them. When I checked upcoming shows planned for the fall 2020 in Pilsen, I was very much surprised that well known project called Postmodern Jukebox did not postpone their planned performance in Pilsen in October until only a few days before. Avishai Cohen was quite brave to perform in Prague in September, but Postmodern Jukebox includes a team of more than a dozen people. There is a big chance you already came across their videos, many of them already having tens of millions views. They are the biggest name within covers scene, including their swing interpretations of famous tracks ranging from Spice Girls, White Stripes, Nirvana or Gorillaz. I gladly included them, as one of their most stable singers Haley Reinhart won the audience vote in the 25th session.
Plus they are a big inspiration for my friends from Dirty Rudolph and his Inglorious Rock’n’Roll Mates, who are having a similar concept. Their clarinet player Johnny sent me a couple of tips about which track to play. I went through two dozens of their videos, but to be fully honest, rarely any of those tracks had a touch I was looking for. They are all very solid tracks, some of them exceptional, with a big motivation to create a vibe and a setting. But in many, I can feel the same approach and in a big number of them Haley was wearing tasteless clothes and the setting of some videos seemed as a cheap hotel room. But when I came across their cover of Pearl Jam’s Black, it was exactly what I was looking for. Setting, heart reaching sound and an amazing Cortnie Frazier. No wonder this track won a silver spot in Prague’s session.
Swedish band Blues Pills are dear to me for many years and compared to their successful early start of their career, they became a stable members of the hard rock scene. They are aging really well and I was really impressed by their latest album Holy Moly!. It took me ages to pick a right track, as the competition on the album is huge, but Song From A Mourning Dove has the strongest soul.
First Audience Choice
A couple of months ago, we included a tradition that a few members of the audience may influence the playlist every session. I gladly took this concept into other cities than Prague. In Ostrava, I gladly gave the first choice to good friend Tamara, who helped me to get in the contact with Stará Aréna management. She has a great music taste, but I am extremely happy, she also has a taste for Balkan music. I don’t mind wild and temperamental Southern music, but I was glad, her choice was rather within epic-ambient department. Here is her comment:
“At first I was fascinated with the beautiful folk costumes worn by the twenty to thirty beautiful women of different ages in a choir. Then they started to sing accompanied with an orchestra and my jaw was immediately sent to the floor. It was so full of emotions, fragile, powerful, and feminine, that I managed to fall in love with this song immediately. When listening to this song, I feel sad, in love, calm, peaceful and strong and I believe that if an artist is able to bring up emotions through his work, then he made a wonderful job.”
I gladly included this incredible track also in Prague. In Pilsen the first audience choice was impressive video from Skin (Skunk Anansie).
Here are the scores from Pilsen, where we are still buidling a brand during the pandemic limitations.
Pilsen: Congratulations: Jaf 34, Blues Pills, Rishloo and Aprilmen
|01 – Kalandra – Lullaby (Live)||1.5|
|02 – Sinks – Professor T (Live)||2|
|03 – Jaf 34 – Light||4|
|04 – Postmodern Jukebox – Black (Pearl Jam Orchestral Cover) ft. Cortnie Frazier||1.5|
|05 – Blues Pills – Song From A Mourning Dove||3.5|
|06 – Audience choice #1 – Skin – Renaissance (Medici Soundtrack)||0|
|07 – Aprilmen – Dead Of The Night||3|
|08 – Shabaka and the Ancestors – You’ve Been Called||2.5|
|09 – Halid Bešlić – Neću Neću Dijamante (Uživo)||0|
|10 – Rishloo – Just a Ride||3|
|11 – Audience choice #2 – Petr Kalandra – Dětské Šaty||0|
|12 – Bonus – Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe (Live)||0|
After The Break
Over the years, I have been always fascinated to analyze genre journeys of talented musicians. Let say, one of my most favorite groups is an 80’s synth pop project The Black Queen of Greg Puciato, a frontman of math metal madmen called The Dillinger Escape Plan. They were very dangerous for the first lines, including stage diving and sth which Greg invented called “Headrun”. Another great genre journey includes Alan Averill “Nemtheanga” a frontman of Irish pagan metal institution Primordial. Check breathtaking performance of As Rome Burns from 41:30. I instantly fell in love with his new dark 80’s ambient project called Aprilmen he formed with a film composer Gareth Anton Averill. It fits perfectly into my evening walks soundtracks and I am really happy the audience enjoyed the genre illustrations associated with the track Dead Of The Night.
Another track I backed-up with illustrations was You’ve Been Called from Shabaka and the Ancestors. As the name says, at the center point, there is by my opinion, probably the best saxophone player right now called Shabaka Hutchings. He is a member of number of project, including Shabaka and the Ancestors and Sons of Kemet, which performed in my hometown at Colours Of Ostrava festival, but I couldn’t see their show because of an interview, which was taking place at the same time. However, I mainly dived into his music with The Comet Is Coming project, which I discovered randomly through Spotify. Blood Of The Past featuring Kate Tempest (Check the studio version) is one of the best track I ever heard in my life, including epic finale in the live version at 4:30. Therefore I was really happy, I could interview Shabaka’s co-player Danalogue for Czech TV Seznam. When I came across Shabaka and the Ancestors project, I was blown by its melancholic sound and impressive representation of the darkness of Africa. It truly connects you to the core of nature, wherever you are from. It was really hard to choose a track from their latest album We Are Sent Here by History, as there is not a weak spot. I love many energetic tracks, but the second one called You’ve Been Called is an atmospheric masterpiece including deep speech and brilliant smooth jazzy second half.
To push world music flow even further, I wanted to include a track from Balkans. It is always very fresh input of the playlist. Plus, when I announced to take these sessions also to another cities, I wanted to share my Yugo origin and once in a while include something impressive from the Balkan region. Halid Bešlić is one of the most respected artists within ex-Yugoslavia and his music fits both for wedding or a depressive mood. I went for a live version for his most famous track Neću Neću Dijamante, which includes very typical Balkan lyric: “I don’t want diamonds, gold, brilliants, sapphires nor rubies. All I want is her to love me.” On Spotify I found a version, which starts as a medley made from a couple of his other tracks and shows incredible musicianship of his players. I backed it up with a muted video footage from 1988 showing Belgrade audience in an absolute madness party.
Coming towards the end, I wanted to play something for members of the audience which love ambient metal. This was for certain fans across all three cities. I came across the band Rishloo through an interview with very talented Czech keyboard player Dave Tichý, a member of two very promising Czech bands Manon Meurt and Chief Bromden. We spoke about some of his favorite albums and I was glad to see many similar interests. Rishloo was a brand new discovery for me but their sound perfectly fitted into my love for Karnivool, Tool and The Mars Volta. Amazing sound, unique vocal and very inspirational lyrics. Check lyrics for Just a Ride.
Second Audience Choice:
Prague: Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot (Live) (Coming from a regular guest Tom)
Pilsen: Petr Kalandra – Dětské Šaty (Coming from a gentleman mentioning a situation on Venus. He remembered this legendary Czech artist because of the first band on the playlist.)
Ostrava: Woodkid – Goliath
For the bonus I leave the spot for a special guest or an unique annivesary in the music world. It was a great moment to pay a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who passed away fifty years ago.
Here is the playlist and scores from Ostrava:
Ostrava: Conratulations: Lisa Gerrard and The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices, Blues Pills and Rishloo.
|01 – Kalandra – Lullaby (Live)||11.5|
|02 – Sinks – Professor T (Live)||1.5|
|03 – Jaf 34 – Light||11.5|
|04 – Postmodern Jukebox – Black (Pearl Jam Orchestral Cover) ft. Cortnie Frazier||1|
|05 – Blues Pills – Song From A Mourning Dove||17.5|
|06 – Audience choice #1 – Lisa Gerrard and The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices MANI YANNI||18|
|07 – Aprilmen – Dead Of The Night||2.5|
|08 – Shabaka and the Ancestors – You’ve Been Called||9|
|09 – Halid Bešlić – Neću Neću Dijamante (Uživo)||7.5|
|10 – Rishloo – Just a Ride||13|
|11 – Audience choice #2 – Woodkid – Goliath||8|
|12 – Bonus – Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe (Live – Sweden 1969)||5|
Next session in Prague is planned for 16. 12. 2020