5th December 2008 – Looking for someone to replace Pavla Kapitánová was never going to be easy for Jakub. „A couple of people have asked me who will sing her songs now. I was genuinely surprised, because the songs were tailor-made for her to the extent that I could not imagine somebody else taking over them. It doesn’t even seem right. They will simply remain hers, “ Zahradník says and continues: „A year and a half has passed since Pavla’s demise. Since then I have had no concerts, but I do have some new songs and in May next year a tour kicks off in Prague, the Czech Republic and Europe. I am putting a band together, which logically makes me think about a singer.“ But how do you find the right one? „Because it did no happen naturally, simply by meeting somebody, which was made impossible by the circumstances anyway, I have decided for an audition“, Zahradník explains. But what more has he got to say about the type of singer he is looking for? „There is no point looking for someone to replace Pavla. It will be a brand new chapter. She can have a completely different voice. I will not say in advance that her voice should be high or low, or what her age should be. One thing, however, is clear to me – there should be feeling in her voice, she should, probably, be a woman of some experience. She must be able to sing in Czech – the domestic audiences would not want to spend an entire evening listening to a foreign language. But I also put emphasis on her English and English pronunciation. I even selected the band members so that English would be no obstacle to them. I myself speak good English and I chose people who speak even better“, Zahradník smiles. Although he is known as being hard to please, this should not put off potential audition participants: „The advantage of any audition is that it always opens up new opportunities. It is, in a way, a starting line. A singer may come who you already know and all of a sudden you see her from a new perspective. I cannot make someone famous the way Superstar or X-Faktor does, but I have built reliable management, the base supporting our activities is professional, and that is why I am looking for someone – to put it simply – who is already an IMAGO“. (laughter) Note: Imago is the title of Zahradník’s new tour. The word itself signifies a „fully developed and sexually mature insect “. Could this be what Jakub Zahradník is actually looking for?
VIDEO: „FOR KATHY“ Music Clip
1st December.2008 – The summer trip to the north of England has resulted in a music videoclip and the first part of a documentary film. Jakub Zahradník made use of his new collaborator’s – documentary filmmaker Oliver Malina Morgenstern – sojourn on the other side of the English Channel and the two had met in the northeast English city of Newcastle. From there they undertook several trips to the university town of Durham, the home of a huge and ancient cathedral, to the seaside and to Northumberland, region bordering Scotland. Their two erudite guides were the poets Keith Armstrong and Katrina Porteous. This was not, however, a chance encounter, as Jakub Zahradník puts the poems of both his British colleagues to music. In the course of the journey some seven hours of film material were shot, used by Oliver Malina Morgenstern to make a music videoclip. In the clip you can see not only several „Kathys“ (it being no mystery that one of them is Jakub’s Kateřina), but also Keith and Katrina. We plan to make Oliver’s documentary available soon.
IMAGO TOUR – First Concert Dates
21st November 2008 – According to the dictionaries, Imago is a „fully developed and sexually mature insect“. By that we mean that „also we ourselves have now matured and can fulfil the role of an Imago“ (in psychology usually representing the idealised image of a parent). While this claim is no doubt somewhat daring, it is also necessary. The Imago Tour kicks off in Prague’s Bethlehem Chapel (Betlémská kaple). Its first runs will be held on four successive Thursdays: 21st and 27th May and 4th and 11th June 2009. They will be preceded by several concerts outside of Prague. After that the extended Imago band will perform a premiere of a multimedia project at the Lipno Dam. Further information will be published on this website, which will also offer tickets for sale.
2CD Listen Now Available from iTunes and Retailers
7th October 2008 – Jakub Zahradník’s brand new piano opus is already available from record shops. The German partner is selling the recording through iTunes. In the Czech Republic it is distributed by Radioservis.
The fitting title of this two CD set, Listen..., is a precise expression of what Jakub Zahradník, and indeed any musician wishes for and expects – that the listeners lend their ears to the compositions...
The project’s dramatic structure is as follows: while compositions entitled "Romances" arise from musical themes that are freely developed employing improvisation, the remaining compositions are pure, and therefore unique, improvisations. Zahradník’s most recent piano music, as presented on these CDs, defies any definite shape. No two renditions of any of the compositions, including Romances, are played the same by Jakub as that would contradict his objective. No matter how composed and neat the resulting product may appear, every time the listener bears witness to new music, created in real time without a prior plan. This “neatness”, sometimes even displaying itself in the music’s form, is the resultant of momentary inspiration and many years spent playing the piano and thinking about music – we can hear a lot of what Jakub Zahradník has been through and how he perceives it, both as composer/performer but also as a human being.
Romany Children Sang at a Pohorská Ves Mass
28.9.2008 – The village bore witness to the last pilgrimage in 1944. Now life is returning to the heart of the Novohradské Mountains, courtesy of the TEREZIE association. This may hardly seem a fitting article for this website, but read on and you will understand... The village of Pohorská Ves is situated not only in the very heart of Novohradské Mountains, but in a way also in the heart of Jakub Zahradník. Not long ago he purchased a plot of land in the region and a trailer, made friends with a couple of locals, established, together with them, the aforementioned civic association, became its secretary and puts his abilities to use for the benefit of the microregion’s cultural life. This year, besides other activities, the association has organised the first pilgrimage in Pohorská Ves’ modern history. Details concerning the last one were filled in by the village’s native inhabitants now living in Germany. They were invited to the event by the association and around twenty had accepted, some of them travelling several hundred kilometres to be there. They helped hold a grandiose mass, celebrated by P. Pavel Šimák, during which the Temple Choir and the orchestra from Velešín, conducted by Marie Pešková, performed Mozart’s „Spatzenmesse“. A part of the mass’ proprium was composed additionally by Jakub Zahradník, who also rehearsed it with some local musicians and four Romany children. All this took place on Saturday 27th September 2008 – for more details and photos go to www.pohorskaves.cz. Besides some activities on a smaller scale, the association’s objectives focus on repairing the local – now desolate – St. Linhart church. It misses a roof and a floor, and this year the tower had to be taken down, to prevent it from falling. Given its dramatic history, the church should be used as a “Centre for the Reconciliation of Cultures“ in the future.
Jakub Zahradník Played for Pavla Kapitánová
30th August 2008 – The concert, held at the Dobřany town square, was organised by the rock singer Aleš Brichta. Dobřany are the hometown of Pavla’s parents and sister, and her two-year-old daughter Maruška. The audience of the rock concert had filled the venue up. Aleš Brichta conceived the idea of commemorating Pavla Kapitánová (returning from a concert, she died in a car crash on 22nd July 2007). Besides Aleš, who had helped Pavla enter the big stage, Dobřany have also played host to several of Pavla’s friends on Friday 29th August, including Michal Cerman’s Second Band. The programme also featured a short piano concert composed of the chansons Pavla had performed together with Jakub Zahradník. „I was afraid that it might prove a little inappropriate. I mean those people came for a rock concert and they might be bored by a solo piano. But in the end I had the feeling that the people really did listen. Needless to say it was a risk, given the time and all the hoopla, but as soon as I started playing I no longer heard the noise. Now I am happy that I could have done it for Pavla. In the background there were pictures from a DVD we had put together for the memorial concert in March of this year. But I do not want to nourish the sorrow anymore, since it is large enough already. And I don’t think ‘Pavka’ would be too happy about it either.“
PICTURES: The Nucleus of a New Band Rehearsed for the First Time
23rd July 2008 - Sean Barry, Zbyněk Bureš, Robert Fischmann – these are the names of the outstanding musicians that form the basis of a band currently coming to existence. For a story in pictures by Věra Sailerová, shot in a Třebotov summerhouse, click here
AUDIO: Listen to the Latest Demos
28th June 2008 – Important notice: these recordings may not be broadcasted or played in public. In these recordings you hear Jakub’s songs from the north of England. They are demo versions. The best thing to do is to ask the author himself for a commentary: „Five Sea Songs – I sing here for the very first time. I made these demos about a year ago, hoping to offer them to Mark Knopfler, whom I admire. But in the end I never got to him. As far as singing goes, I was helped in these songs by Katka García – a great Czech singer and a very nice woman, who is now, however, residing in Ireland, which makes any collaboration practically impossible. One of the songs is sung by Jan Karez. We are trying to sound as authentic as possible, but not really succeeding. Katrina Porteous, the author of the poems I have put to music, writes in an old Northumberland dialect, used by the fishermen of her childhood and almost non-existent today. Besides my electric piano and recorder, the recording also features Charlie Slavík’s accordion, Sean Barry’s Celtic harp, Zbyněk Bureš’s steel guitar and, in one track, Václav Sýkora’s flute. I made the entire recording at home and later had it mixed in a studio. I added one song featuring solo piano, with the working title Letterland, dedicated to Mr. Knopfler. I later departed for Newcastle, hoping to find a local female and male singer for the music, but with no success – perhaps I was looking in a wrong place. Now it seems that I will have to learn the language of the Northumberland fishermen myself, and not just me… After all, there can be more versions than just one. Maybe when we go to play to the British Isles we find someone suitable. My experience so far tells me that it is the music that is perceived by the people in the first place. It is enjoyed, among others, by Alan Franks (poet, playwright, musician and Times reporter), who told me that he had downloaded it into his iPod and that my immediate neighbour there is Bruce Springsteen.“