Hana Hegerová Bookmark and Share


20 October 1931 - 23 March 2021

Hana Hegerová (real name: Carmen Farkašová) always wanted to be an actress. In her youth she attended the theatre academy where she took the name Hana Čelková. In the fifties her agent suggested she would take a more exotic sounding name so she changed it in the pseudonym Hana Hegerová. Hana had success as an actress in the sixties where she toured France, Germany and Ostria. She was featured in numerous films at the time.

Again her agent tipped to start to sing the chanson like songs she liked. This resulted in a German sung debut album (due to her popularity as an actress in the DDR). At the end of the sixties she performs at the Olympia theatre in Paris. Her international career is cut short due to the ending of the Praque spring in 1968. She would keep on releasing albums in German, French and English throughout the seventies. In 1978 she suddenly re interprets Jacques Brel in her native tongue on the album 'Lásko prokletá' (which is the Czech translation of 'Ne me quite pas'). The album is a big success.

Hanna is not very productive and turns to motherhood during the eighties. The success is therefore irregularly followed by only two albums in this time. The fall of communism in 1989 triggers her to return to the theatre with the program 'Na zabradli'. This is followed by a live album in 1990. During the nineties she releases several albums in her native tongue (some together with Czech songwriter Petr Hapka). She also returns to the screen with in a film that is perfect for her; in 'Poslední motýl' (1991) (aka 'The last butterfly') she plays the part of a jewish singer in the ghetto of Prague during WOII.

In 2003, at the age of 72, she is honoured by the industry as the queen of Czech chanson. The event is celebrated with a gala show at the National theatre of Prague (Národní divadlo, or the golden chapel as the Czech say). Although she already comes of age she still tries to perform four times a year in the Praque Kalig theatre and record. In 2005 she records an album with lyrics by poet Pavla Kopty. In 2006 she also stars in the short movie 'Kde lampy bloudí' ('Where the lamps roam') from director Jakub Kohák.

In 2010, 23 years since her last studio album, she released 'Mlýnské kolo v srdci mém', an album on which Hana interpretes 13 French chansons. For the last time, apparently, since La Hegerová announced that this will be her last album release ever. She died on 23 March 2021, aged 89 years, at Prague hospital Na Homolce, after complications from hip fracture.

On the web:

- Hana's wiki: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hana_Hegerov%C3%A1
- Hana's pages on cdmusic: http://www.cdmusic.cz/hegerova/index.html

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Julliette Greco (France)

What do we think:

DB: On our first trip in Eatern Europe in 1995 we we bought two Hegarova cd's in Brno. We thought the covers looked nice and browsing for typical local music this struck as a safe bet. We were suprised by the quality of the songs and how much she resembled the chanson tradition we knew and yet had a very typical eastern europe ring to it. Like a czechian Patachou we imagined Hana singing in wine cellars during the communist regime 'entertaining' the people with songs of despair. In hope to forget their own worries of the time.

PR: Hana is one of the very few Eastern European artists who actually gained some fame outside the former Warschau Pact countries. And when you listen to Hana, it is obvious why: with her somewhat harsh and raspy voice, she interpretes all sorts of famous and not so famous songs very beautifully. She gives you the feeling that she has lived it all.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪ - Šansony - 1966

♪♪♪ - Recital - 1971

♪♪♪ - Recital 2 - 1973

♪♪♪♪ - Lasko protekla - 1978

♪♪♪♪♪ - Potměšilý host - 1987

♪♪ - Chansons / Wenn die Schatten länger als die Wege sind - 1987

♪♪♪ - Bratislava live - 1998

♪♪♪ - Olomouc live - 2006

♪♪♪ - Paberky a Pamlsky (2cd compilation) - 2009

♪♪♪♪- Mlýnské kolo v srdci mém - 2010

Further listening:

Ich - Hana Hegerová - 1967; Hana Hegerová - 1969; So geht es auf der Welt -1972; Fast ein Liebeslied - 1974; Wir für euch - 1975; Ohlédnutí - 1984; Live - 1990; Paběrky - 1991 ; Hity 1962 - 1992 ; Hity 1964 - 1992; Povídej… - 1994 ; Starci a klarinety - 1996; Zlatá kolekce - 1996; Rozdíl (cds) - 1996; Rýmování o životě (Výběr písní I+II) - 1997; Síň slávy - 2000; Můj dík (Hana Hegerová zpívá písně Pavla Kopty) - 2005; Všechno nejlepší - 2006

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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