Saturday, October 28, 2006

Prog Not Frog Radio Presents: The Voice of The Moon # 019 With The Herbalist (Welcome to the Czech Republic Alternative Scene)

The first band I knew from The Czech Republic, (at the time still known as Czechslovakia) was the Legendary Plastic People Of The Universe. That was in the 70's, when many things about rock bands were not certainties but diffuse and blurry rumours.

I was told that Plastic People was a persecuted band, and I was also told that they had concerts in hidden basements and abandoned factories.

Their music hit me with a vengeance. It was incredibly crude, harsh ans corrosive. The Czech words came in to
my ears like drops of molten sulfur. They were stunning, mythic and fantastic.

Decades later, after the fall of Communism, my brother got married and he had a European Honeymoon in which Prague was included. I handed hin a paper which said: Go into any music store and give this name to the clerk. I want all the Plastic People albums you can get.

He bought 3 albums. I guess he didn't try too hard. (Anyway in due time I bought the others)

Now I know the whole story Czech rock and indie. Plastic People were a bunch of Dissident Intellectuals supported by a man who later would be Preseidnet of the flamant Czech Republic: Poet and playwriter Vaclav havel.

And what a president.

The world would be a better place if we had more presidents like him
Friend of Lou Reed, Frank Zappa and rock and punk connosieur. RIO fan. Human Rights activist. Arts and Culture supporter.

Ater the so called Velvet Revolution that brought Havel and his rock lover friends to power the Academy for Popular Music was born. Its goal: to helkp and supporgt popular musicians without any restriction to creativity.

And Indies Records was founded as a publishing house for all kind of experimental, folk alternative and pop artists.

That's how the brilliant careers of the likes of Iva Bittova, Vladimir Vaclavek and Pavel Fajt started.

If there is something in common among the czech alternativa artists we could say it is the blend of virtuosism and feeling. This great music is possible thanks to the whole social process and the sucsessful politics applied to music and the arts as the expression vehicles of the czech people.

Havel left power in 2003 after ten years of a political career that I hope will be an example taught is History text-books in the future. Nowadays the Czech republic is the most stable and prosper of all the countries re-founded after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Prague has become a massive tourism center. The City of Kafka, Kabbalah and The Golem opens its mysterious stone paved streets to the world.

Maybe Plato was right. Goverment should be left in the hands of artists and philosphers.

Keep Listening...!!!


Robin Street-Morris. Frog Spirit I. 2006. Watercolor and pastel


Coffee Messiah said...

Another interesting trip, Thanks & Cheers! CM

GanjaStar said...

A pity not many seem to appreciate voice of the moon. Plese do not discontinue this since i truly enjoy such a take on things.

The Herbalist said...

Hello Ganja..

About 60-100 persons download The Voice of The Moon. But of course Id' like to have a wider audience.

The main problem seems to be that the show is hosted in rapidshare and people doesn't want to spend rapidshare time on this instead of downloading music.

No big deal because soon we will do some major changes in the site and the show will be hosted somwhere else.

Maybe, after show #020 (Which will be a special edition) I will take a rest (not a long one I promise) and I will re-upload all the shows to some other web service like badongo or megaupload..
nost sure yet though...

Thanks for your kind worlds.
I will not discontinue to do it although I must tell you it takes time to build every edition...

See you!

Thanks again!

Hynek said...

I'm from from Czech Republic and I must say that it's a real pleasure to read such an article about my country :) I'm going to listen to the "Voice of the Moon" immediately; it'll be interesting what other musicians other than PPU and Iva Bittova you've chosen.

By the way - this is the first time I visited the 'prog not frog' blog; I don't know where else to compliment the author(s), so that I'm going to do that here: this is really a brilliant page!

skaarse said...

Thanks again for an eminent show! Czech republik is my favorite country outside norway... but I dont know much about the music... But your show really gave me a taste for more!
Keep on the good work, and I must say....Hearing your voice and your exelent choice of music... once a week is not often enough...but of course I know there is a lot of work behind.. so I dont expect more often shows

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