August 24, 2005

The Wild, Wild...Prague?

Memphis on the Vlatva: Prague's country music blues:

They pick guitars and banjos, wear Stetson hats and sing plaintively about hard men with soft hearts. But these music-lovin' cowpokes are a long, long way from Texas.

They are, in fact, in Prague, the unlikely capital of country music in Europe since the time of Buffalo Bill.

But there's trouble on the homestead, say Prague's country music devotees. The Czech Republic's passion for Old West tunes flourished through world wars, a global depression and forty years of oppressive communist rule. But today the singing Czech cowboy may be a dying breed.

[...] Since the fall of communism 15 years ago, country music lovers no longer risk a spell behind bars, but [Jan] Vycital is pessimistic about the future of the genre.

"Country has had it, especially when you see the young people who take every chance to protest against everything American. In my day we would have punched them in the face," fumed the musician, who adapted to Czech hundreds of American and Australian country songs.

"Country's peak is already behind us. The philosophy of this music is basically conservative, upholding traditional values of family and country. And there hasn't yet been a serious conservative political party here," Cvancara said.

But Cermak thinks that not all is lost, at least not yet. "One day, maybe some of them will get sick of the Internet, DVD's and all that goes with the modern world, and again seek refuge in this little romantic world," he said.

Read it all. It's quite charming.

Posted by Kyer at August 24, 2005 08:08 PM | TrackBack