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Music in the Czech Republic has roots both in high-culture opera and symphony and in the traditional music of Bohemia and Moravia. Cross-pollination and diversity are important aspects of Czech music: Composers were often influenced by traditional music; jazz and bluegrass music have become popular; pop music often consisted of English language hits sung in Czech. English-speaking visitors listening to Czech radio are surprised at the prevalence of familiar tunes, but with lyrics sung in Czech. These imported pop standards aside, rock and roll has taken over, often with influences and instrumentations taken from more traditional Czech styles.

The 1960s saw American bluegrass music gain wide popularity, and the first European festival was held in 1972 (the Annual Banjo Jamboree in Kopidlno). In 1964 and 1982, Pete Seeger toured the country, inspiring generations of Czech bluegrass and American-style folk musicians. Notable is the band Poutníci, whose early success helped perpetuate bluegrass music in the Czech Republic. Many former members of that band have recorded or toured with the band Druhá Tráva, which has brought Czech bluegrass to the modern world music stage. Because of its non-political nature, jazz was practically the only form of progressive music in the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s that was tolerated by the regime. The new personalities of Czech jazz were represented in the ranks of ensembles such as Jazz Q, Energit and Impuls. These included bluesy guitarist Lubos Andrst, saxophonist Jiri Stivin, pianist Karel Růžička and expressive singer Jana Koubková. During the 1960s, the chanson singer Hana Hegerová also steadily grew in popularity.

In the seventies rock entered the Czech stage with singer and violinist Iva Bittováa, wisely filling the gap of what was allowed and what not with a mix of rock, classic avant-garde, jazz and Czech folk melodies. Avant-garde with a pure rock tone rooted in the 1970s and 1980s is best represented by the groups Už jsme doma , MCH Band  and Psí vojáci .

The turn of the 1970s and 1980s brought a further hardening of the regime’s stance against rock culture. Members of the group Plastic People of the Universe  were put on trial. Previously respected musicians, primarily songwriters, found themselves marginalized (e.g. Vlasta Třešnák, Jaroslav Hutka, Sváťa Karásek and others). With few exceptions, they ended up being forced to emigrate.Rock came mainly from the city of Brno with acts like FruFru (Serious) blend polyrhythmic structures with electronica and normal songs. Květy, Ty syčáci and Budoár staré dámy bring a typical Brno restlessness up to date in a rock sound.

In the mid-1980s, there was an upsurge in the number of musicians who wanted to do their own thing and who promoted styles that had been considered exotic in the Czech lands until then. The band Žlutý Pes  attempted to play country rock inspired by the American South; reggae was introduced by Yo Yo Band  and Babalet while hardcore was presented by Hubert Machane, Michael's Uncle and Insania.

The Czech New Wave music, influenced by things such as new romanticism and the fusion of rock with the inclinations of synthesizer music included acts such as Pražský výběr, Oceán, Lucie, Abraxas, Precedens and OK Band. Regarding the up-and-coming wave of heavy metal, bands such as Arakain, Citron, Vitacit, Torr and Root are worth mentioning. After the Velvet Revolution , great interest developed in previously forbidden music. The underground groups of the Eighties Psí vojáci,  MCH Band , Garar and Prazsky vyber rose to stardom. Younger acts like Prouza, Priessnitz and Wanastowi vjecy start copying and adapting American rock influenced by Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. With temporary success, by 1995 almost all these bands disappeared due to heavy competition from the international market. Some of the stars of the socialist era disappeared from sight after the Velvet Revolution, never to be seen again. Nevertheless, the most popular of these have continued to retain their place in the sun. Karel Gott  has almost a cult status among the general public (not just in the Czech lands, but also in Germany), in the female category Helena Vondráčková and since the 1990s also Lucie Bílá reach diva-status. A unique genre on it's own is created by Petr Hapka and Michal Horáček which in sound may come closest as the Czech answer to Tom Waits. Synthpop icon Petr Muk starts his solocareer in the nineties.

The pop genre got its second wind with the arrival of a new generation of groups. The guru of Czech funk, Roman Holý, is the man behind two important groups: J.A.R., which was originally a hip-hop project, is now the most important funk ensemble, while Monkey Business  flies the flag for pop mixed with disco and funk. Originally a gang of friends from primary school, Tata Bojs grew from being a school band into a serious project, which crosses pop with rock and electronica. On the jazz scene (still very much alive in Czechia), it’s necessary to pay attention to jazz guitar star David Dorůžka, double-bass player Jaromír Honzák, singer Yvonne Sanchez , acid jazz band Eggnoise , jazz-rock trio -123 min, as well as the former rocker who is now the most important male singing personality ever – Dan Bárta and his band Illustratosphere.

The website of the Czech republic on music.

 




 

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