Helena Vondráčková Bookmark and Share


24 June 1947

Vondráčková was the daughter of Blažena and Jiří Vondráček. Much of her childhood was spent in the Bohemian village of Slatinany, Czechoslovakia. Her first appearance as singer took place in 1964 at the Lucerna hall in Prague where she participated and won the contest 'We are looking for new talents'. In 1967 the Czechoslovakian TV started a very popular musical series 'Pisen pro Rudolfa III' (The song for the king Rudolf III) where the most popular Czechoslovakian artists performed their latest hits and acted. Among the biggest pop stars there was already established Marta Kubisova and the 20-year-old Helena Vondrackova. She performed 'Cervena reka' (Red River Valley) - an American folk song with Czech lyrics. The series were aired until August 1968 when the Russian troops entered Prague.

At the beginning of December 1967 Helena recorded a new song called 'Prisahej' (Swear) written by poet Jan Schneider. In November 1967 Helena represented Czechoslovakia on the music festival in Rio de Janeiro. She performed the song 'Vzdaleny hlas' (Distant voice) written by Karel Svoboda. In that year she also started acting in the movie 'Silene smutna princezna' (A very sad princess). On November 1, 1968 she started together with Marta Kubisova and Vaclav Neckar the pop group called 'Golden Kids'. In 1969 the Golden Kids performed at the music festival Midem in Cannes France, with big success and they were invited to play the Olympia. The success wasn’t very long lasting. 15 months later the group was disbanded due to that Marta was blacklisted by the communist regime. Her solo single 'Tajga blues', about Russian soldiers who openly protested against Sovjet invasion, didn’t fall well. Golden Kids recorded two LPs: 'Golden Kids 1' and 'Micro Magic Circus'.

In between Helena also released her first album called 'Ruze kvetou dál' after the song of French singer Gilbert Bécaud 'L'important c'est la rose'. On the album she profiled herself as the Czech Petula Clark. At the beginning of 1970s Helena became very successful abroad. The first attempt to promote the singer abroad was done in 1972 when her first English language album 'The Isle of Helena' was released in some countries. She never broke the English market but during the seventies she did became popular in Germany. Helena released several albums throughout the decade. In 1977 she won the Sopot festival in Poland with the song 'Malovany dzbanku'.
In 1978 Helena wanted to try something else then the usual easy listening she’d been doing. The jazz-funk experiment 'Paprsky' took almost 3 months to complete but was her breakthrough to a more serious market. In the same year she teamed up with Hana Zagarova for the TV special Wonderful women on flying machines. The special was build around several hits of ABBA. In 1980 Helena went disco with the album 'Muzy' (which was released in England as Music). She spend the eighties releasing albums filled with Czech covers of international hits from the likes of Olivia Newton John, ABBA and Billy Joel. In 1986 Helena changed her style and returned to her homeground with an album build around the songs by a Czech composer Jaroslav Jezek (1906-1942), for the album 'Helena zpiva Jezka'.

The fall of communism in 1989 did mean a stagnation in cultural life, theatres were closed, no concerts were played. It also meant the return of Marta Kubisova so The Golden Kids were able to give their first performance in 20 years at the Karlin theatre in Prague. In the nineties Helena spend most of her time performing in musicals or with musical material. In 2000 she returned after performances at Carnegie Hall in New York together with Karel Gott. Universal released the album 'Vodopad'. A modern dance/pop album of which 'Dlouha noc' (The long night) was the big hit. In 2002 she recorded with the new rising musical star Martin Maxa the single 'Déjà vu'. In 2005 she was honoured with a TV gala for 40 years in business. In 2006, she took part in the TV dance contest Dancing With The Stars.

On the web:

- Helena's website: http://www.vondrackova.net
- Fansite in English: http://www.raffem.com

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What do we think:

DB: I bought 'Paprsky' because of the label 'obscure Czech funk' the seller put on it. Well, funk is maybe a bit to enthousiastic to label Helena but the music does have a certain sophisticated funky feel to it. And it certainly isn't a bad album. Little did i know that it was Helena's most daring project. Reading her bio i have certain doubts if i should browse for more. She comes across a a Czechian member of Ricchi e Poveri. But i could be totally wrong.


Recommended albums:

♪♪♪ - Paprsky - 1978

Further Listening: Helena Vondráčková & Jiří Korn - Těch pár dnů 2007; Rendez Vous 2004; Hádej ...! 2003; Helena 2002 - 2002; Vodopád / 2000; Vánoce s Helenou / 1995; The Broadway album - 1993; Přejdi Jordán a další hity / 1990; Skandál / 1988
Sólo pro tve oči / 1986; Ode mne k tobě / 1984; Přelety / 1982; Písně Billyho Joela / 1981; Múzy / 1980; S písní vstříc ti běžím 1977; Helena Vondráčková (Helena a Strýci) 1974; Helena Helena Helena - 1972; Ostrov Heleny Vondráčkové - 1970; Micro magic circus - 1969; Růže kvetou dál - 1969

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Central Europe