Metronome Festival Prague Celebrates 30 Years of Freedom
Today we mark World Press Freedom Day, something that’s especially
significant during this year as we mark the 30 th anniversary of the Velvet
Revolution and the fall of communism. This will be one of the of the chief
aspects of this year’s Metronome Festival Prague.
The main part of the celebration at the fourth annual Metronome Festival Prague
will be a large concert dubbed “Voices of Freedom” that will feature a number
of Czech female singers that represent a range of generations and genres. They
include guitarist and singer-songwriter Lenka Filipová, who came to prominence in
the 1980s or Monika Načeva, whose stars rose just after 1989, will
also appear; while Bára Poláková, Emma Smetana, Ille,
Žofie Dares, and Never Sol will represent the latest generation.
The performances of the individual singers, the accompanying band, and the
arrangements will be under the direction of Roman Holý (Monkey Business,
J.A.R.), the project’s musical guarantor. The Voices of Freedom concert will not
only allow for so-far untried cross-generation collaborations, but also
symbolically present the broad range and talent of Czech women; something
that has been a tradition in this country for years regardless of political regime.
Singers who experienced various forms of censorship and oppression will stand
as living testimonies side-by-side with those who grew up in a free society that
was allowed to travel and see the world.
A Singular Pražský výběr Performance
Other performers will also mark 30 years of freedom at the Metronome Festival
Prague, chiefly Pražský výběr. The members of this legendary cult band
experienced the censorship and persecution of the 1980s for themselves when
the group first came to prominence: In 1983, the band was completely banned
by the communist regime and Pražský výběr – then called just Výběr – could
return to the stage only three years later.
The performance of Pražský výběr at the Metronome Festival Prague will be
unique for several reasons. First of all, it will be the band’s only open-air
performance this year in Prague. Secondly, the band is planning to invite some surprise
guests to perform as well. And finally, the set prepared by Michael Kocáb,
Michal Pavlíček, and Co. will be a special reflection on this year’s celebration of
freedom. Pražský výběr frontman Michael Kocáb will also participate in an
Opero forum debate along with musical historian Aleš Opekar, the author of the
TV documentary Bigbít, where they will discuss how music influenced the
social upheaval of 1989.
May 3: World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General
Assembly in 1993 to commemorate the May 3, 1991 anniversary of the
Windhoek Declaration assembled for independent, free, and pluralistic media in
Africa and around the world. The Windhoek Declaration states that a free press
is a fundamental pillar of a democratic and just society. World Press Freedom
Day is a tool to apply pressure to governments that restrict the rights of citizens
to freely distribute information; a means to help free jailed and persecuted
journalists; and to commemorate those who died fulfilling their calling to inform