Sturm, Twang and the Imaginary Wild West in Europe
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Video -- Malina Brothers house concert, in Italy
My last post took note of a concert I attended in April by the Czech bluegrass band The Malina Brothers, with guest appearances by Charlie McCoy,
the Nashville-based harmonica virtuoso and member of the Country Music
Hall of Fame, and the Czech singer Kat’a Garcia. The concert was sold
out, and got a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd. And it was
being filmed for a live show DVD.
That concert took place in the Sono Center, a major venue in Brno, CZ, for contemporary music -- the audience numbered 700 or 800.
Less than a month later, the Malina Brothers, who are old friends of mine, visited Italy -- where they gave a house concert at the home of a friend.
I managed to live stream it from my phone, on Facebook -- and here it is. It was my first live streaming, so the visual quality is not the best (and it's vertical -- the program didn't let me rotate the phone)... but still. It's a testament to their talent that their same repertoire works in a big theatrical venue like the Sono Center -- and also in the intimate setting of a private living room.
For several years I've been exploring the imaginary wild west in contemporary Europe -- observing and experiencing the many ways that Europeans embrace the mythology of the American Frontier to enhance, imbue or create their own identities. (Or, indeed, just have fun.) On this blog I will post pictures, stories and links relating to this multi-faceted subculture, from European country music to rodeos, theme parks, round-ups and saloons....
I'm an American writer, photographer, and public speaker long based in Europe. I've chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues for more than 20 years and currently coordinate the web site www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu. My latest books are "National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe," published in 2007, and "Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere)," published in 2008.
I also am working on "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American West in the European imagination for which I won a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend grant. In 2015 I was the Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston, SC.