Marta Kubišová Bookmark and Share


1 November 1942

Marta Kubišová was born in the Czech town of Budejovice. Her dad was a cardiologist. As a child, she took piano lessons, but Marta did not show any particular talent on the instrument. In 1952, the family moved to Poděbrady, where Marta lived during her grammar school years. After her schooldays she was employed in a glass work factory. It was in this period that young Marta started to sing with a dance band with local musicians. In 1961 she participated in her first talent show, where she reached the finals. In 1962 she auditioned for a part in a theatre play with the Pardubice Stop Theatre, with success. In 1963 she continued her theatre career at the Alfa Theatre in Pilsen with Boban Ondracka. Their first production was called ‘Ukradený’ (‘Stolen’) from Louis Aškenazy, followed by ‘Černej sen’ (‘Dark dream’) in 1963-64. In June 1964, Marta sang in a local jazz venue.

Jan Schneider advised Marta to look for more and better career opportunities in Prague, and so in September 1964 she moved to the capital city. Schneider took her to the Rokoko Theatre, where people could present their own repertoire. It was in this theatre that she worked with Waldemar Matuska and it was also the place where she would meet Helena Vondráčková and Vaclav Neckar in December 1965, her future partners from the Golden Kids. In 1966 she appeared with Helena Vondráčková in the film ‘Stříbrná Bratislavská’ (‘Silver Bratislava’) in which they performed the now classic duet ‘Oh, baby baby‘. In that same year Marta appeared in another film for which she recorded the beautiful song ‘Jakube, Jakube’ co-written by Ester Krumbachová.

In 1967 Marta won the Golden Nightingale for the year 1966 and the Bratislava bronze lyre for ‘Nech tu lásku spát’ (‘Let love sleep’), a duet with Waldemar Matuska. Furthermore, the first episodes were shot from a musical TV series in which Marta participated. The next year starts with a performance at the MIDEM in Cannes, both solo and as a trio with Vondráčková and Neckar. She won a Golden Bratislava lyre for the song ‘Cesta’ (‘Journey’), followed by a performance at the Paris Olympia theatre in April, where she met Aretha Franklin, who was recording a live album at the Olympia. The year 1968 will always be remembered as the year of the ‘Prague Spring’ – a period in which the local politicians, especially Alexander Dubček, tried introduce a more liberal rule in stead of the strict communist rule. In the end this period of liberalisation ended abruptly with the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the armies from the Warsaw Pact countries in the night of 20-21 August 1968. In January 1969 student Jan Palach set himself on fire on the Wenceslas Square as an ultimate protest against the Russian communist occupation. In April 1969, Dubček was being replaced as first secretary. And a period of ‘normalisation’ began. In other words: a restoration of the conditions prevailing before the reform period; all reforms and reformers were removed, punished and/or banned from public functions. Many Czechoslovakian people fled to liberated countries (app. 300,000).

It was after the communist invasion that that Marta’s song ‘Modlitba pro Martu’ (‘Marta’s Prayer’) became a national protest song. Together with other artists, Marta and her colleagues Helen and Vasek, supported Alexander Dubcek.

On November 1st, 1968, Marta, Helen and Vasek founded the trio Golden Kids. By the end of the year they already had their own show. Several of Marta’s songs were integrated in the Golden Kids show. Marta’s career was at an all time high and both her solo singles and her work with the Golden Kids were extremely successful. She won a Golden Nightingale for the year 1968. Together with the Golden Kids, she performed the shows ‘Micro Magic Circus’ and ‘Music Box No.1’. It received rave reviews and it resulted in the trio signing a recording contract with Polydor. Marta marriages director Janem Němcem and records the classic ‘Proudy’ (‘Currents’) and from her first long play record ‘ Song y Balady’ (‘Songs and Ballads’). With the Golden Kids she performs in the Split Music Festival, winning the bronze award for the song ‘Atlantis’.

As from 1970 the grip of the communist government became tighter and tighter. Together with Helen and Vasek she filmed with Jaroslav Dietl and Jaromir Vashti in a co-production with ZDF, but the film was never shown in Czechoslovakia. The Golden Kids sold out the Golden Lantern venue with their program ‘Music Box No. 2’ and Marta was, again, awarded the golden national price for the year 1969. But price was handed out privately. Censorship got tougher and tougher!

On January 27th, Marta performed for the last time with the Golden Kids. She was too strongly connected with the reform movement in 1968 so Pragokoncert forbade her any artistic activity. Elements tried to destroy her image and career by falsely accusing her of pornographic work. It caused the collapse of the Golden Kids, even though Marta won her case in court many months later. She recorded her last record in June 1970, the single ‘Kde máš svuj dům’ (‘Where is your house’).

A dark period came over Marta (and Czechoslovakia). Apart from the destruction of her career, Marta had a miscarriage at eight months pregnancy causing her being clinically dead for a short period of time. In 1972, her husband Jan Němec suddenly emigrated to the U.S. Marta spend her days at home, the regime did not allow her to get another job. In 1974 she married her second husband, Jana Moravec. In 1977, Marta signed with ‘Charta ‘77’, the Czech protest group, fighting for more reforms and liberalisation, and she became one of their spokesman. After signing with ‘Charta ‘77’, she was all the more persecuted by the communist regime and monitored and interrogated frequently.

In 1978, together with other banned singers, she recorded a few folk songs with Jaroslav Hutka for a Swedish label called Saffron '78. In 1979 she gace birth to her daughter Kačenka. From 1981 to 1989 Marta worked as a supply officer in the construction of housing estates.

On the 10th of December 1988, she was invited to take part in the first ‘authorized’ demonstration for the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the first time since 1970, Marta performed again!

The velvet revolution progressed and Marta participated in a demonstration on November 21st, 1989. She performed ‘Modlitba pro Martu’ from a balcony on Wenceslas Square in Prague, alongside her friend and future president Vaclav Havel. On December 3rd, she made her first official appearance on a concert stage and her former record label, Supraphon, re-released Marta’s only official album ‘Songy y Balady’. On June 2nd, 1990, she performed a solo recital where she was handed over the Golden Nightingale for the year 1970…

After being freed from the communist regime, Marta was free to perform and record again. And she took up her career with very much energy and enthusiasm. Since the beginning of the nineties, Marta released new material frequently, both solo and with the Golden Kids. She also worked in films and tv-shows.

On October 28th, 1995 president Vaclav Havel awarded Marta a state decoration, the Medal of Merit. In 1997 her biography, written by Adama Georgieva, was published with the title ‘Chytat slunce’ (‘Chasing the sun’). In 1998, she was brought to the Hall of Fame by the Czech Academy of Popular Music. In the new millennium, her recital ‘Hey Jude’ was filmed by Japanese television. Furthermore, she starred in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ‘Líp se loučí v neděli’ (‘Tell me on a Sunday’), translated by Pavel Vrba. For this role, Marta received the Thalia Award. In 2005, another book inspired by Marta’s life was released, ‘Asi to tak sám Bůh chtěl‘ (‘Maybe God wanted it this way’), written by Luboš Nečas. Marta was awarded a lifetime achievement award in 2008. The following year, Vamp Soul released a cd/2lp compilation of Marta’s singles from 1966-1970 internationally. In 2010 Supraphon released a 3cd compilation of Marta’s most famous songs, emphasizing her importance for Czech pop music. Marta Kubišová, although nearly seventy years old, shows no signs of retiring yet. Hopefully we can enjoy her old and new material for many more years to come!

NB: This text is for a big part based on the information found on Marta's own website. We did our utmost best to translate evrything as correctly as possible.

On the web:

- Hana's website: http://www.kubisova.cz
- Fansite: http://www.raffem.com

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

Maryla Rodowicz (Poland)

Sylvie Vartan (France)

What do we think:

PR: Marta is a fantastic, soulful singer. She has a great voice and radiant personality. She brought pop, beat and soul to the eastern side of the iron curtain in the second half of the sixties. She was one of the voices of a new age, a more free and liberal age. Unfortunatly, it was not meant to be. Marta was silenced for over twenty years. Since the velvet revolution, her songs from the old days were released on many complitations, but she recorded much new material as well, thus creating a second career! Any pop music fan should have at least one of Marta´s albums, but if you are interested in soulful torch song singers like Dusty Springfield, you will greatly enjoy Marta's art.


♪♪♪♪♪ - Songy a balady - 1969 (reedition 1990)

Micro Magic Circus (with Golden Kids) - 1969

Music Box no. 1 (with Golden Kids) - 1970

♪♪♪♪♪ - Lampa - 1990

Adventní písně a koledy - 1990

♪♪♪ - Někdy si zpívám - 1991

Songy a nálady - 1993

Řeka vůní – 1995

Bůh ví - 1996

♪♪♪♪ - Singly 1 (compilation) - 1996

♪♪♪♪ - Nechte zvony znít (Singly 2, compilation) - 1997

Vánoce s Martou Kubišovou (Christmas album) - 1997

Sváteční setkání (with Rudolf Rokl, Petr Malasek, Jaroslav Sveceny) - 1997

♪♪♪♪ - Dejte mi kousek louky (Singly 3, compilation) - 1998

Marta Kubišová v Ungeltu (compilation rerecorded at Ungelt theatre) – 1999

♪♪♪♪ - Modlitba (Singly 4, compilation) -1999

♪♪♪♪ - Tajga blues (Singly 5, 2 cd compilation) – 2000

Já jsem já (záznam z koncertu) - 2004

Vítej, lásko - 2005

In My World (with Dave ‘Whitewolf’ Trezak) – 2005

♪♪♪♪ - NE! The Soul of Marta Kubišová (compilation) – 2009

Further listening:

Příběh (compilation) - 2004; Vyznání – Zlatá kolekce (3 cd compilation) - 2010

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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