Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm Interviewed on Czech Radio

Rattlesnake Annie and Petr Kocman, Prague Country Fontana, 2007. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

When I was in Prague last week, I was interviewed by Jan Richter for the English language service of Czech Radio -- on subjects ranging from Jewish heritage to European country music. I tried to keep my answered pegged a bit to the Czech experience, so I discussed positive developments in the preservation of Jewish heritage sites in CZ, and (in the country music segments) the collaboration between CZ country star Michal Tucny with the American Rattlesnake Annie, as well as the American reception of the group Druha Trava.
“I think Rattlesnake Annie came here on an invitation, and she and Michal Tučný just simply clicked. They performed together, they got along very well and she began a career over here. She was recognized, she toured not just Czechoslovakia as it was but she also played in East Germany and West Germany; she played with a lot European country music acts. She wasn’t the first but she was one of several American artists who made their careers in Europe. The most famous, or infamous, was Dean Reed, who sang a sort of rockabilly, rock, country songs and also appeared in the East German wild west films. But Rattlesnake Annie was unusual because she did this in the communist block. Year before last, which would have been the 60th birthday of Michal Tučný, the country Fontána Festival was held to honour that date, and Rattlesnake Annie came back and sang the duets that she used to sing with Michal Tučný, she sang them with contemporary Czech artists like Petr Kocman and others. It was a very moving moment and the crowd just went wild.”
If you go to the site, you can click a button to hear the interview.

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