Four years after their breakthrough album “Transformations”
(Promeny) which won them three Czech Music Academy Awards
(Best Album, Best Group, Best Song) Czechomor are back with a brand new studio
album “What Happened Next”.
There is no substitute for Czechomor, cult World Music band
from the Czech Republic. Deeply rooted in Moravian village music, their repertoire
reflects the passion and anguish of a region moulded by centuries of Ottoman
raids, Napoleonic battles and folk ballads.
Czechomor also provides an excellent opportunity for fans to
trace back Celtic echoes that lie deeply rooted in the cultures of Bohemia and
Moravia but which are related to the music of Brittany and Ireland in particular.
The band’s unique mélange of traditional folk mixed with Ottoman
dissonance, Gypsy czardas, Napoleonic mustering dances and Celtic rhythms have
succeeded in winning over young and old alike.
Czechomor have sold over 200 000 album units.
Karel Holas, graduate on the classical violin at the Brno Musical
Conservatory, acts as band leader. With Franta Cerný they spend much
of their time resuscitating long-forgotten poems and folk ballads. Established
in 1988 as the Czech Moravian Music Society the band soon developed into far
more than a reservoir of traditional music. As ex-president Václav Havel's
favourite ensemble, Czechomor entertained celebrity audiences at charity concerts.
They brought Czech folk music to the Royal Albert Hall in London.
In 1999 Czechomor performed at the Rudolstadt Festival in Germany
and at the EBU Folk Festival in Dranouter in Belgium. That same year the band
was invited to front Czech Republic’s most popular rock band: Lucie. While
playing for rock audiences, Czechomor proved themselves as the ultimate live
band. Their music explodes with raw energy, but also maintains integrity and
honesty - virtues very rare in today's showbiz. During the tour, thousands of
new fans converted to Czechomor's brand of music. By the end of 2000, their
new album Czechomor was a platinum success and sold over 20 000 copies.
Reaching a mainstream audience was a challenge. After "updating"
traditional songs, Czechomor embarked on an ambitious project. The musicians
met up with Jaz Coleman from the British punk band Killing Joke, who had turned
to classical music. Coleman helped them produce their next album, Transformations,
recorded with the Czech Philharmonic Collegium. The album was a tremendous success
with over 80 000 copies sold. Transformations went on to win three Czech Music
Academy Awards for Best Album, Best Group, Best Song.
In 2002 Czechomor starred in a fiction-documentary called The
Year of the Devil which won the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival
and went on to win a total of 7 Czech Lion awards (the Czech equivalent of the
Oscar Academy Awards) including Best Soundtrack.
The band spent much of 2003 touring with the Czech Philharmonic
Collegium. In April their Prague concert was recorded for TV and the resulting
DVD Transformations Tour became a bestseller.
With 4 platinum releases to their credit, Czechomor are the
Czech Republic’s most popular band and have performed all over the Czech
and Slovak republics, in Germany, Belgium, England, Ireland, USA, France, Russia,
Luxembourg, Poland, Rumania, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain.
In May 2005 Czechomor released What happened next which spent
6 weeks at No. 1 on the Czech hit parade and three months later was still No.
3. It sold 20 000 copies within the first week of its release.
What happened next features WOMAD artists Iarla Ó Lionáird
(Ireland) and Joji Hirota (Japan) as well as the renowned Czech female vocalist
Lenka Dusilová, Dan Valis (uilleann pipes), Jan Mikusek (cimbalom) and
Mirek Zidlicky (flute).
The album was reviewed by the influential British music magazines
Songlines and fRoots.
Co Sa Stalo Nové: / What Happened Next: Columbia (CZ) 519858 2
The Czech group Czechomor was one of the first Czechoslovakian
acts I listened to. They were part of the first flush of my expanding awareness
/ vocabulary of contemporary Czechoslovakian music, alongside Jablkon and the
Wihan Quartet. Back then they were known as the Ceskomoravská Nezávislá
Hudební Spolecnost (CNHS or Czech-Moravian Independent Musical Company)
and a very different beast. And in all honesty (and self-defence) it would have
been impossible to imagine the collective that made Dovecnosti, their debut
album, making Co Sa Stalo Nové:. Czechomor's 2005 album is a contemporary
folk masterpiece. It is as revelatory-revolutionary in its way as, to put it
in UK terms, a roll-up of Fairport Convention's sod-crunching Liege And Lief,
the Home Service's Alright Jack and Brass Monkey's debut. (Add a downright Oysterous
boisterousness on Tece vodenka [Water Flows].) With tap roots deep in the Czech-Moravian
tilth, as befits a band that drew so heavily on the Czech culture-defining collections
of the 19th-century folklorist Frantisek Susil, Co Sa Stalo Nové: still
summons images of CNHS on Ej, Dolu Váhom (Way Down The River Váh).
The Czechomor of What Happened Next: is an acousto-electric
band - it still appears occasionally as a totally acoustic variant - pushed
into new places by guest musicians and the co-production of Ben Mandelson and
Rob Keyloch. Over the years, while remaining true to Susil's spirit, Czechomor
has provided some radical changes of musical character to the formula (more
about which in fR269). The line-up here consists of the last CNHS member František
Cerný (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin), Karel Holas
(vocals, violin, electric guitar, fujara [shepherd's flute], harmonium), Radek
Poboril (accordeon, trumpet, flute), Michal Pavlík (electric cello, dudy
[Czech bagpipes]) and Roman Lomtadze (drums, percussion). The producers and
band have also brought in a select gathering of guests like the Czech indie-rock
songstress Lenka Dusilová, the cymbalom player Jan Mikušek, Joji
Hirota on taiko drums and shakuhachi, and vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird
to the powwow. For pace, melodicism, rhythmicality and depth of interest, my
most-played album of 2005. (Ken Hunt).
For more information please contact:
SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (CZECH REPUBLIC) s.r.o.
Palackého 1, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
Ph: +420-246 086 150 / Fax: +420-246 086 116