Thursday, October 15, 2009

Country Music: Thriving in the Czech Republic !

Where is America and its culture loved and admired? In the Czech Republic, formerly of Czechoslovakia, American democracy was an inspiration when Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918. The choice of red, white and blue was a conscious expression of admiration for America's political system and the desire to exchange the Austro Hungarian monarchy for a republican form of government. Czechoslovakia has had little respite from foreign domination since it was founded in 1918. From 1938 until 1945, it was dismembered and occupied by Nazi Germany. After a brief respite at the end of World War Two, the Soviets established the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia as a puppet state.

Not surprisingly, Czechoslovakia's strong cultural and political affinity to the US and to western ideals persisted. Amazingly enough, Czechs and Slovaks are avid fans of country music. The first country music station in Europe was established in the Czech Republic. The link to it is here, if you want to listen to round the clock Czech country music. A real artist can not simply copy a painting. Something of his or her soul shines through in imitation. A lot of Czech country music accomplishes this very well, becoming as thoroughly Czech as it is evocative of Americana.

I found it very moving to Bruce Springsteen's "My Home Town" sung in Czech by Pavel Bobek. The theme of longing for home and some permanence in the environment carries over very well into other tongues. Bobek, who is probably among the better known country singers in the Czech Republic. His rendition of "Take me Home Country Roads" by John Denver is right on target. He and his backup singers create the atmosphere of an American live country music performance very well.

Bobek was born in 1937 and trained originally as an architect. He performed on the Supraphon record label, which was the state record label during the communist years. His career started in the 60's and has enjoyed strong popularity since the fall of communism.

It is heartening to feel the fondness for America that is so common in the Czech Republic. Seeing what the Czechs see in America and its cultural treasures gives me a deeper appreciation of America. This resonates all the more profoundly at a time in history when hate for America is so commonly and vocally expressed.

American country music truly showcases the beauty of the English language. "Two of a Kind and Working on a Full House" is a song title that would never work in any other language. High Cost of Low Living" and Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart are some other classic titles. I'm sure the Czechs have likewise done great things combining the Czech language with the country genre.

When I listen to Czech country music, the world sounds like a far friendlier place. I hope that my readers will check it out as well.

Pavel Bobek "Country Boy

Pavel Bobek Take Me Home Country Roads

Pavel Bobek "Country Boy by Don Williams

Crazy country song titles Sphere: Related Content

No comments: