Thirty-fourth music presentation session for the blind and visually handicapped took place this time in two locations. Prague: 14th of December 2021 in the presentation room of Czech agency SONS (Czech Blind United) and Ostrava: 22nd of December 2021 in Stará aréna Ostrava theatre. You can find the background of this project in an article about the first session here. In December it was great to see in Ostrava some friends, which could make it from another cities for holidays. In Prague, as usual, the community created an amazingly friendly pre-Christmas atmosphere.
Prague: Congratulations to Ibrahim Maalouf and a second place shared between Autumn & Carla Bley
Ostrava: Congratulations to Ibrahim Maalouf, Autumn and Anna von Hausswolff
|01 – Karnivool – All It Takes||2.5|
|02 – Beverly Glenn Copeland – Ever New||10|
|03 – Autumn – Alloy||12.5|
|04 – Greg Sage – Astro Cloud||4|
|05 – Ibrahim Maalouf – Ya Ha La (Live – Paris)||15.5|
|06 – Audience Choice #1 – The Young Gods – Gasoline Man||3.5|
|07 – Exit Ten – Lion||12|
|08 – Anna von Hausswolff – Persefone (Live)||8.5|
|09 – Blues Pills – Wild Horses (Live)||11|
|10 – Amelie Siba – Lay Down||6.5|
|11 – Audience Choice #2 – The Yardbirds – Still I’m Sad||4|
|12 – Bonus: Carla Bley – Away in a Manger||12.5|
Australian progressive rock/metal band Karnivool is one of the most interesting bands within alternative/atmospheric music and a must-see live. I share respect for them with many colleagues, friends and musicians including a guitarist of Indian ambient metal band Skyharbor. Karnivool and Skyharbor were one of the first I wanted to share with the audience asap and Karnivool’s Alpha & Omega live was voted the most favorite in the final score during the fifth session. I was really positively surprised when band shared an article from that session through their awesome manager “Tank”, who sent me also some other music tips as one of his close family members is also visually impaired. Since their first shows in Prague, including supporting Stone Sour or their 2013 show in Palác Akropolis, which I gladly consider my most favorite live show ever, they gathered many new fans in Czech Republic since. Reactions were great in Ostrava and we are looking forward for a new album.
I kept next track for December event, as it really needs a viewer to dive into the seat and enjoy the vibe, which somehow fits to Christmas generousness and peace. It’s a beautiful track called Ever New from American singer and songwriter Beverly Glenn Copeland’s pioneering 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies. A couple of years ago he deserved a well-deserved “refresh of awareness” through a Japanese collector and before Glenn-Copeland’s gender transition was made public, this album was selected as one of the 70 greatest recordings by women by The Stranger. Inspirational life story and incredible music.
When I was fourteen, I decided to concentrate on some specific part of music scene, as I knew, I would need a multiple lifetimes to catch up with my older colleagues. I concentrated on bands with female singers. For exaple, I gathered Japanese editions, studied bands from all over the world and became part of the community on Sonic Cathedral etc. I was really obsessed with bands as The Gathering, Lacuna Coil and many more. Female Fronted Underground Spotify playlist. My main contact with Dutch band Autumn happened when they arrived to Prague on 28th of January 2009 as a support band of The Gathering. I knew about their earlier albums, but they didn’t click with me much. I also knew about Marjan Welman, as she was one of the guest singers on Ayreon’s 01011001 album. To be honest, I had huge hopes for this cooperation and it worked. Prague show was amazing. I love coming back to their albums Altitude and Cold Comfort which turned ten recently, as their mood is incomparable. It takes you to its specific atmosphere instantly. It has both rock drive, same as post/prog rock touch within the graduating structure of the songs, but on top of everything, it offers such a beautiful melancholic melodies, it brings so much belief in your life journey and the future. Thank you guys and come to Prague soon.
December 2021 was a month, when Czech magazine Muzikus released its last issue. It was on the scene for thirty years and I am really proud for being a member of the team for eleven years. It was an incredible experience, extremely important phase in my career and an opportunity to interview both music icons, as well as to promote not so known artists. Last issue was an ideal combo. On the cover, we had Ringo Starr, who organized a press conference for his latest EP and Muzikus was the only Czech media which was invited. Second interview was with underground Czech guitarist David Vála. He is a member of a couple of bands, but we mainly covered his activities with an alternative atmospheric rock band Tábor, which won an album of the year in Vinyla Awards. We spoke about band’s current and future path, but also about a period during pandemic including hardly imaginable family challenges. David mentioned a number of his favorite albums he said, but Straight Ahead album from Greg Sage was with him most of the time, he was in the hospital with his son. I spent with this album many hours, many will follow and I think about it every time.
For every presentation I try to include some interesting modern jazz song and possibly even some world music. In the case of French-Lebanese jazz trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, it was an ideal combo. Plus his epic performace of the track Ya Ha La in Paris, happened exactly five years ago, during the Prague event. This track won in both locations and I would really love to experience this positive madness in Czech Republic.
Audience choice #1
As the first choice from an audience, in Prague a friend of mine I know from amazing Prague’s café Čekárna asked for a track Gasoline Man from The Young Gods, she really loves. In Ostrava, my friend and a very good guitarist Matěj, who could finally arrive to this event due to holidays asked for a live version of Angeline from Ariel Posen.
Ostrava’s playlist included a couple of tips on upcoming music events in Ostrava region.
|01 – Karnivool – All It Takes||6|
|02 – Beverly Glenn Copeland – Ever New||4|
|03 – Autumn – Alloy||7.5|
|04 – Greg Sage – Astro Cloud||3.5|
|05 – Ibrahim Maalouf – Ya Ha La (Live – Paris)||13.5|
|06 – Audience Choice #1 – Ariel Posen – Angeline (Live)||2|
|07 – Exit Ten – Lion||3|
|08 – Anna von Hausswolff – Persefone (Live)||7|
|09 – Blues Pills – Wild Horses (Live)||1|
|10 – Amelie Siba – Lay Down||0.5|
|11 – Audience Choice #2 – Jack Savoretti – Breaking The Rules (Live Acoustic)||5.5|
|12 – Bonus: Carla Bley – Away in a Manger||4|
After The Break
Same as in the case of Beverly Glenn Copeland and Autumn, in December I had the last chance to play a track from British rock band Exit Ten to fulfill an anniversary. These guys didn’t manage to reach an attention they deserved with their impressive music, but they still did an amazing job with their two album. I love both of them, but Give Me Infinity from 2011 was an album of mature band with impressive songs as Suggest A Path or Curtain Call. However I am addicted to their slower and atmospheric tracks as The Cursed and especially Mountain or Lion. I will never forget that they arrived to Prague as a support for Shinedown in 2012. I was one of the few, who knew the band before they arrived and I interviewed the band shortly after. As I was criticized by Rock&Pop’s magazine, where I was starting back then for doing it too much as a fan interview, I was much careful since. I truly miss this band, which could have survived longer.
Going to a church for a concert with a majority of metal fans?! It was an incredible show of Swedish organ player, composer and a singer Anna von Hausswolff in Kostel U Salvátora in Prague by late November. She was performing at Nobel prize awards, cooperating with black metal band Wolves In The Throne Room, as well as with drone icons Sunn O))). Drone is actually very big part of her discography, considering her side project BADA. Late November show was concentrating on her latest album All Thoughts Fly and it was a breathtaking experience, which I fully recommend.
In long term, it is challenging to find new good rock songs. Plus, it’s great to include some retro element. A cover of The Rolling Stones’ track Wild Horses was an ideal option. Blues Pills are a stable institution, their latest album is truly great and Elin’s vocals towards the end of the track is phenomenal.
Every time I also try to include an interesting song from a Czech artist. Young guitarist, songwriting and singer Amelie Siba is a huge talent getting a lot of attention, especially within Czech awards (Apollo – Main Award). It’s a well-deserved position, impressive promise for future, but I mainly happy she reminds me of my favorite shoegaze artists and The Sundays’ legendary album Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
Audience choice #2
As the second choice from an audience, in Prague a mother of my friend, who asked for a first song, asked for Still I’m Sad song from The Yardbirds. In Ostrava, my sister which arrived with a friend, asked for a live version of Jack Savoretti’s track Breaking The Rules.
Bonus: Carla Bley – Away in a Manger
For a bonus, I wanted to include a Christmas song from a special I organized last year in Prague, but nothing cheesy. I just loved to read about Carla Bley, who is free jazz legends and her quotes about not creating crazy Christmas atmosphere and rather have a good wine, fits into my definition of a cool grandma. However the best way how to describe last years’ session and the mood this song created in the end, came from visually handicapped gentleman and my friend Antonín: “Christmas season is not bad, but no one says, you will definitely feel great. I see a member of a family, maybe a mother, which is trying to create Christmas setting exactly as everybody is used to. On one hand it works. We can feel a harmony, great sounds including a piano or a brass instrument. But suddenly we feel some hangover, sobering up and then another wave of holiday mood. We are going through a holiday season, but everything is more honest now. Not only because of Covid situation, but everything is becoming much rawer. We are bombarded with a perfect image of the holidays full of snow, smiling children and bunch of other things. However the joy is not continuous and especially this year we could feel the disgust towards an “ideal” world. The main reason why I love this song is this misbalance, it’s an amazing disharmony. Carla managed to perfectly represent it. At the same time, I feel it’s not something for a mainstream radio. They do not play it anywhere, it is not in the charts, as well many other tracks that would deserve more attention.
Check them in my Christmas Jazz spotify playlist
Next events took place in these dates: 19th of January in Ostrava and 26th of January in Prague.
Behind the scenes stories coming soon.