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IMPORT/EXPORT/ROCK'N'ROLL: PETR FERENC INTRODUCES A NEW EXHIBITION AT THE CZECH MUSEUM OF MUSIC WHICH EXPLORES THE FORM OF IMPORT AND EXPORT OF POPULAR MUSIC IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA IN THE 1960s, '70s, AND '80s.

In practice, however, the regime's stance towards western culture was unsystematic. It partly banned, partly silently tolerated, and partly directly supported its import from the 1960s through to the 1980s. Exporting music was considered an important component of cultural and economic policy.

The state monopoly on the import and export of music was disrupted by new technology for the home recording and reproduction of sound--electromagnetic tape and later cassettes. This democratisation was a considerable contribution to the distribution of recordings in Czechoslovak society but at other times, music and its creators had to find their way to media beyond the borders--in exile.

The forms of import and export of popular music in this period are the subject of a new exhibition taking place at the National Museum--Czech Museum of Music from the 28th of March to the end of January 2020. It was prepared by Peter Balog, Pctr Ferenc, Mariana Lebedova, and Katnila Maresova and it is called Import/Export/Rock'n'Roll.

What You Could Hear on the Radio and What You Had to Hear Elsewhere

At the end of the 1950s, the Czechoslovak Radio offered mostly folk music, wind bands, swing, and variety shows. The central source for new beat music was Radio Luxembourg, whose waves passed over the Iron Curtain.

Uncensored information about political and social life in the West and East got to listeners through western radio stations. Signal jammers, however, drowned Free Europe, the Voice of America, and the BBC in carwrenching radio static. In the mid-'60s, the extent of the jamming was minimised, and together with the Prague Spring--a period of relative liberalisation of the socialist regime--came a plan to stop the jammers entirely. After Czechoslovakia's occupation in 1968, the jamming was intensified, corresponding with an increase in interest from the listeners.

The Munich headquarters of Radio Free Europe established a voiccmail service for Czechoslovak listeners. The callers asked for information about the reasons for the August invasion, the real situation in Vietnam, Nobel laureates, as well as requesting songs by Elvis Presley, the Sex Pistols, or the singer-songwriter in exile (and Free Europe employee) Karel Kryl.

Starling in 1973, one could hear a limited selection of western music within the Vetrnik programme on the Czechoslovak radio stations Vltava and Hvezda.

In the second half of the '80s, Vetrnik held listeners' polls that also included artists from abroad. The leading spots were taken by bands like Pink Floyd, Metallica, and Iron Maiden.

In the mid-6os, one could also hear to a modest rationing of contemporary western rock and pop on the airwaves of Czechoslovak Radio. 1964 saw the birth of the first Czechoslovak radio hit parade: Dvanact na houpacce (Twelve on a Swing). It was prepared and hosted by husband and wife duo Miroslava Cerna and Jin Cerny. Jin Cerny (*1936) included local and international music equally. "The Swing" quickly became popular, in part thanks to the fact that the winner was decided through correspondence voting by the listeners and not a jury's verdict. Cerny became a figure who continues to define local listening trends to this day.

After the August occupation, Cerny prepared Karcl Kryl's album Bratricku, zavirej vratka (Lttle Brother, Clou the Gete) and broadcast Jaromir Vomacka's anti-occupation song Dobre minena rada aneb Bez domu, Ivane (A Well-Intended Piece of Advice, or, Go Home, Ivan). The programme was immediately cancelled and Cerny was removed from the radio.

After the cancellation of "The Swing", Jiri Cerny continued playing music and commenting on it on another platform, the so-called Amidiscothcqucs. These were listening lectures in which he presented new releases. In addition to a number of themed programmes (The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, or Leonard Cohen), he also offered programmes presenting new releases across genres, artists, and performers. Many other music journalists began presenting listening discotheques as part of their activities.

If they didn't play it on the radio, you had to hear it live. And so Czechoslovak groups of the 1960s diligently rehearsed foreign songs they knew only from the radio or vinyl records. There was no direct concert experience of the western originals, so cover versions became crucial messengers of western culture in the socialist environment. And it wasn't just the songs that were imitated--it was the image too. Czechoslovak performers embodied their ideas and dreams about the western musical scene, later mediating these dreams to their audiences.

In 1964, Karel Gott--accompanied by the beat group Olympic--recorded Adresat neznamy (Recipient Unknown), a cover version of The Beatles' From Me To Ton, with lyrics by Jiri Staidl. This was a milestone, confirming that the beat fever in Czechoslovakia could no longer be ignored.

In the interest of authenticity, rock groups adopted English songs with their original lyrics, while pop performers established on radio and television relied on Czech lyricists, often with excellent results--let us mention at least Vaclav Neckar's Lady Jane and Mrs Robinson (lyrics by Zdcnck Borovec; Eduard Krecmar) or Marta Kubisova's Hey Jude (lyrics by Zdcnek Rytir). In French chanson too, sticking to the French original was unthinkable, and so the repertoire of Hana Hegerova became a testing ground for Czech lyricists including Pavel Kopta, Michal Horacek, or Petr Rada. After 1968, the English language practically disappeared from the airwaves and concert stages. The western repertoire, however, did not. Pop songs were adapted most often, sometimes hard rock was too. A peculiarly defining case was a cover of Black Sabbath's National

Acrobat, presented by Jiri Schelinger--with Frantisek Ringo Cech's lyrics and band--under the name Metro, dobry den (Metro, Hello). Marie Rottrova's Lasko, vonis destem with Czech lyrics by singer-songwriter Jaromir Nohavica is also taken from Black Sabbath's repertoire. The Czechoslovak public often knew western hits in their Czech version only, later being stunned and amazed at the foreign-language origin of such intimately known pieces.

The State as Publisher, Agency, and Organiser

While you could acquire records with foreign popular music in Czechoslovakia, they were very few in number when compared to local products. In the 1970s, there were only three state-run music publishers in socialist Czechoslovakia--Panton, Opus, and Supraphon, the largest. Two of these used limited foreign exchange to buy licences for albums and individual songs from international partners. The albums were published with considerable delay--in the case of the With the Beatles album, it was a full twenty-four years. To this clay, there is no complete list of Czechoslovak licence albums. We don't know how many were pressed and which sold best.

A specific aspect of license albums were the accompanying liner notes. These took the form of essays written by leading music writers. Abroad, some Czech license albums became sought-after collectors' items, particularly due to the modified covers. Albums featuring international artists could also be bought in the music centres of friendly states, particularly the Hungarian and Polish centres, were people went to acquire bands such as Omega, Locomotiv GT, or SBB and Czeslaw Niemen, as well as Hungarian or Polish license albums.

The Artia company was established at the beginning of the 1950s, originally as a company for the import and export of cultural goods. In 1953, it was converted into a foreign trade company. In the 1970s, its eight employees administered the departments of book culture, art works, and sound recordings. Every department was then divided according to the targeted area, i.e. the East and the West.

Businesses abroad made selections from the catalogues of the state-run publishing houses Supraphon and Panton. They were mostly interested in classical music--pop music lagged far behind. Artia had oversight over the commercial aspects of the process. The price list assigned higher prices for western countries.

The export albums of pop music singers were fitted with new lyrics in the language of the target market.

Sometimes, the translations were literal, at other times, the lyricists created new works. The English version of Olympic's song Kanagom (referring to a brand of glue) bore the title Can 1 Go? After the political transformation in 1989, Artia lost its monopoly on the market, ending its operation in 1994.

1958 saw the creation of the Pragokoncert agency, whose main task was to mediate concerts for Czech artists internationally and to organise concerts by foreign artists in Czechoslovakia. Pragokonccrt dealt with agencies around the world, promoting all the artists it represented.

A prerequisite to being represented by Pragokonccrt was to successfully complete the requalification tests and acquire the status of first degree professional. Rcqualification tests were mandatory for all musicians who wanted to make a living from music or play legal concerts. In addition to musicianly capabilities, the appropriateness of the repertoire and political awareness were also assessed.

Pragokonccrt was also responsible for the import of international artists. It introduced onto Czechoslovak stages such artists as Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, B. B. King, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, Elton John, Mireille Mathicu, Cilbert Becaud, Suzi Ouatro, or Uriah Heep.

Not even the relaxed '60s allowed international performers to flood into Czechoslovakia. 1965 saw several performances in Prague by Louis Armstrong, rock fans were captivated by Manfred Mann, a British group that performed in 1966. A year later, at the 2nd Czechoslovak Beat Festival, The Nice (with Keith Emerson on keyboards) amazed the local audience. In 1970, Karel Gott was in London, trying to convince John Lennon and Yoko Ono to perform a benefit concert in Czechoslovakia. They both promised to take part. The culture department at the Central Committee of the Communist Party denied the proposal. It was unthinkable that a representative of the western bourgeoisie should give away their concert fee to Eastern Bloc children.

The 3rd Czechoslovak Festival, held in 1971, promised such stars as Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull, but in the end, the approved bands included only the Hungarian groups Omega and Neoton and Polish singer Czcslaw Niemcn with Enigmatic.

Beginning in the early 1970s, Pragokonccrt invited only vetted rock groups from other socialist state, particularly SBB from Poland and Locomoliv GT from Hungary. In the more relaxed second half of the '80s, Depeche Mode's concert in Prague was a sensation.

In certain exceptional cases, concerts by international artists were also organised by individuals. Two unannounced and illegal performances by Nico--formerly of Velvet Underground--became the stuff of legends. They took place in 1985 in Brno and the Opatov Cultural Centre in Prague, where the police intervened during the performance. New York-based noise-rockers Swans also performed in Brno near the end of the '80s.

Socialist Business

State publishing policy was very narrowly defined. In the '60s and '70s, one reaction to the insufficient supply of records with western music was the spontaneous eruption of musical exchanges independent of state structures. These created a parallel economic structure which the state judged to be illicit cntrcprcneurship. Members of law enforcement agencies sometimes simply reprimanded the participants but on other occasions they used clogs and pepper spray to disband the gathering. The police also attended to monitor "free" youths who came here to become acquainted with harmful western pop culture. These exchanges usually took place on Sunday afternoons in Prague. Police repression led to frequent changes of location. The exchanges gradually moved from Wenceslas Square, through Spanelska Street, the concrete staircase onto Letna, Strahov, and Havlickovy sady all the way to the Krc Forest. News about the location spread quickly and reliably. At first, the exchange worked on a record-for-record basis, but sales soon began. Prices for new records ranged from 250 to 500 Czechoslovak crowns. Bear in mind that the average monthly income in 1980 was 2656 crowns. In addition to rock and pop, genres such as metal, punk, jazz, contemporary classical music, and various other experimental directions were available. What was absent was the local underground scene and outlaw singer-songwriter like Karel Kryl--mostly because outside of a few exceptions, they never published LPs.

The selection was up to date. Professional salesmen could get their hands on a new western title as soon as two weeks after it was published. There were also magnetic tapes on offer--with music and empty--as well as music magazines, tape players, and digital watches.

From the mid-'80s, the exchanges took place legally under the auspices of established organisations. In Prague, these included the House of Culture of the Iron Industry Workers or the Slavic House. After 1989, these exchanges slowly died out--records from abroad were no longer in short supply.

Various western goods--particularly electronics--could be acquired in Tuzcx shops. The original idea of Tuzex was domestic export, as the name (tuzemsky expart) suggests. Most importantly, however, this was a place were the populace went to fulfil its commodity dreams, a cede of commercial and cultural transfer between the west and Czechoslovakia. Tuzex shops each had a specified range of goods. They offered scarce and exclusive goods that were the standard in western countries. Radios, tape recorders, CD players, walkmen, video cameras, occasionally vinyl records from abroad. In the reminiscences of contemporaries, Tuzex machines have the aura of miracles, particularly in comparison with locally produced audio equipment.

Tuzex shopping took place in a special mode. You could only shop using foreign currency (marks, pounds, dollars), but more often people used special purchase coupons called bons (bony). Acquiring bons legally was only possible for Czechoslovak citizens living abroad. Their wages were in a foreign currency which was deposited onto their foreign exchange account. After returning home, they could not acquire the foreign currency--only the bons. Someone interested the goods, however, mostly acquired these coupons on the black market, from a so-called vekslak.

Vekslaks (from the German wechscln--to exchange) would stand in front of Tuzex shops offering one bon for four to six crowns. A hi-fi system could cost upwards of two thousand bons, which--taking your into account that wages were in the range of thousands of crowns--was truly an exorbitant price. Even if you had the required amount of bons in your pocket, however, you still had to select from the catalogue, order, pay the entire sum up front, and hope that everything would go smoothly. When Tuzcx failed to secure the goods, it either returned the payment or attempted to find a suitable alternative.

Music in Print

Music journalism and its presentation in the appropriate periodicals is an indelible part of musical life. The exhibition introduces both the popular musical monthly, Melodic, and the more "subversive" activities of the Jazz Section.

Melodic was active from 1963 to 1994. It provided news from the popular music world at home and abroad, critically darning these in broader societal contexts. It presented profiles of western artists and disc reviews. Lubomir Doruzka became the editor-in-chief in 1964, focusing on pop, rock, and jazz.

Stanislav Titzl took over from Doruzka in 1970. Despite the compromises which ideological oversight forced him into, he managed to sustain Melodie as a source of information about western trends. It was an important platform to aid active searches for vinyl records, tapes, and posters from the west.

1983 saw a hard stance against Melodic by the Central Committee's Ideological Commission. The reason? "Disproportionate" promotion of western popular music and a glorification of local artists who copy western models. Titzl was replaced by Miroslav Kratochvil and most of the original editors left in solidarity with Titzl. The first edition prepared by the new team was a great disappointment for the readers--Melodic was unrecognisable. Its unique content was gone, as was the high level of journalism and with it the readers' favour. Vetted artists from the Eastern Bloc began taking up most of the space on its pages. The Jazz Section (Jozzova sekce) was an important promotion and publishing company operating on the very edge of cultural politics in the 1970s and '80s. It was created in 1973 under the auspices of the Union of Musicians. Despite its title, alternative music was soon at the centre of the organisation's interest. The Section was a distinctive social platform on the borders between official culture and the underground. Their members searched for ways to maintain a distance from the unacceptable demands made by the political representation even while engaging in legal publishing, promotion, and journalism efforts. In the early years, the Jazz Section had only a few hundred members, but over eight thousand were registered by 1986.

Between 1974 and 1982, the Section organised eleven editions of the Prague Jazz Days festival. Only nine then took place. The tenth edition had to be called off under pressure from the Communist Parly, the eleventh was banned at the last minute. The concerts of the artists who had already arrived then took place illegally at the Zizkov Chmelnice and Horni Pocernicc; two peripheral districts of Prague.

In 1972, the Jazz Section began publishing its own non-periodical magazine, Jazz Bulletin. It brought news about Czech and international jazz and alternative music, film reviews, and also articles translated from western magazines including Billboard, Downbeat, Melody Maker, and others. There were twenty-eight editions in total, the 29th was confiscated by the secret police during an apartment search.

In addition to the Jazz Bulletin, there was also Jazzpctit, a book series. The state authorities were not informed about these--the books did not pass through the usual confirmation and censorship process. In addition to publications focusing on music and art, the Jazz Section also published an uncensored version of Bohumil Hrabal's novel I Served the King of England.

The Section was forced to discontinue its activities in 1986. Its members were tried, some imprisoned. There are currently several organisations continuing in its activities.

Musical Samizdat and Exile Publishers

The state-run musical market could not satisfy the needs of all musicians and music lovers, who therefore often opted for inventive "unofficial" methods of overcoming these inadequacies.

At the end of the 1950s, a tape player was a rarity in Czechoslovakia, so the listener could not simply record the music from radio or records onto tape. An inventive solution was a device known as an "etcher" (rycka): a home-made contraption used to inscribe sound recordings into synthetic films such as those used to print x-ray scans. Up to six songs fit on one side, but there were also recordings of BBC, Radio Free Europe, and Voice of America broadcasts. The same technique was used in the Soviet Union, where it also had a particular name--bones.

Recordings etched onto x-ray shots can be considered one of the first expressions of musical samizdat, i.e. the recording and distribution of musical and information sound material outside the official channels. The content was considered inappropriate by the regime, who tried to suppress its distribution. In addition to western music, samizdat also allowed for the sharing of local music which had no chance of getting onto official records, let alone professional recording studios.

In the 1960s, home recording and playback was made considerably more available to Czechoslovak listeners thanks to a technological innovation: the briefcase tape player Sonet Duo made by Tesla. After connecting to a radio receiver, record player, or television, one could record and copy even in amateur conditions. This process gradually took on the name of magnitizdat (from magnetic tape and samizdat).

Magnetic tape players dominated the musical samizdat in the 70s too. Underground groups such as Plastic People of the Universe or DC 307 recorded both concerts and "studio" albums on semi-professional machines such as the Revox A 77 or the Sony TC 377. They used the same machines to copy the tapes, which then spread through the underground community. Tapes smuggled past the Iron Curtain also served as a foundation for the publication of records in exile publishing houses and with other publishers abroad. In the following decade, tape players and cassettes became consumer goods. The entire process of recording, copying, and distribution was considerably simplified by the introduction of cassette tapes. The creation of the musical samizdat was a direct result of the state's restrictive cultural policy. A state that owned all professional recording studios, record presses, and publishing houses between 1948 and 1989 and which firmly dictated which musicians it would allow to officially distribute their music. In exchange for this privilege, it demanded loyalty and artistic compromise. The most significant samizdat publisher was the musical enthusiast and anti-regime activist Petr Cibulka (*1950). By the second half of the '70s, his fiat in Brno was the home of independent music publishing house S.T.C.V. (Samizdat Tapes & Cassettes & Videos). Magnetic tapes were copied on semi-professional equipment, catalogues were published in samizdat publications such as Voknoviny, but Cibulka was not afraid of putting out an ad in Melodic too. Interested parties could order the tapes for a fee. Cibulka's mother took care of the administrative component of the operation.

As a publisher, Cibulka stressed the number of distributed items. He had no special dramaturgy and he rarely attempted to authorise the published recordings with the musicians--they often had no idea they were being published. The main goal was to document as fully as possible the range of unofficial musical activities in Czechoslovakia. Cibulka put out underground bands; alternative groups from Prague, but also Moravia; singers-songwriters; punk and new wave; concerts by international artists in Czechoslovakia, as well as records put out by other samizdat publishers and uncensored recordings by artists represented in the Supraphon catalogue. The standard print run of S.T.C.V. tapes was two hundred pieces. All in all, they put out over 484 items, peaking between 1986 and 1988. Cibulka was jailed repeatedly for his publishing activities. A second important tape label, Fist Records, was founded by saxophonist, guitarist, and composer Mikolas Chadima (*1952). He joined Extempore in the second half of the '70s--distinctive representatives of the so-called Prague alternative scene, connected to the activities of the Jazz Section. Chadima performed Velkometo (Metropolis)--the height of the repertoire of "his" Extempore--supported by the protagonists of the Rock in Opposition movement in London. He was the only member of the band who managed to travel to England for a few days. The idea that all the band members would have their bureaucracy in order and be allowed to travel at the same time was unthinkable.

In the '80s, Chadima signed Charter 77, established the MCH Band (still active today) and his own "bedroom" label Fist Records. While technology made the material aspect of publishing easier, publishers still risked conflict with the state, and the prices of the technology and materials were unimaginably high when compared to the average wage.

Many exile publishers also published Czech unofficial music. Boil mlyn published the Plastic People in Canada, Safran 78 in Sweden mostly put out singer-songwriters. One singer-songwriter, Jaroslav Hutka, established a "one-man" publishing house in Rotterdam: Fosil. Czechoslovak alternative and experimental music was also presented on Old Europa Cafe in Italy and Insane Music in Belgium.

Success Behind the Curtain

There are countless musicians and music-lovers who went to search for their fortunes abroad.

If the Czech nation has its "rockstar who made it over the pond", it's Ivan Kral (*1948), a guitarist whom Czech fans recognised from the cover of Patti Smith's debut record, Horses (1975). Kral was born in Prague in 1948 and he was eighteen when he tried his luck in New York--his father worked there as a translator for the United Nations. He recorded a classic quartet of albums with the Patti Smith Group in the latter part of the '70s: Horses, Radio Ethiopia, Wave, and Easier. He found himself at the very heart of the scene around the New York club, CBGBs, which spawned not only Patti Smith and Blondie, but also Talking Heads and Ramones. In 1976, Kral co-directed The Blank Generation, a documentary mapping this scene at its very inception. He co-authored Dancing Barefoot, one of Smith's greatest hits. He also featured on records by Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

Jan Hammer (*1948) was bom in Prague to a musical family. His mother was the first lady of Czechoslovak jazz singing, Vlasta Pruchova, his father the musician and cardiologist Jan Hammer Sr., an important force on the Prague jazz scene.

At fourteen, he improvised in the Junior Trio with Miroslav and Alan Vitous. At nineteen, he composed the score for the legendary Czech fairy tale The Incredibly Sad Princess (Silene smutna princezna), which was first screened in 1968. That same year, he enrolled at the Prague Conservatory, but ultimately, he opted for a scholarship offer from the Berklee College of Music. He still lives in the United States today.

In 1971, he co-founded the jazz-rock group The Mahavishnu Orchestra, with whom he performed over five hundred concerts in the first two years alone. Synthesisers became his main instrument, and he helped establish them as legitimate instruments in jazz and popular music.

The biggest success of his career came in 1983, when he composed the score for the TV series Miami Vice. His Miami Viee Theme received two Grammy Awards, seven million copies of the soundtrack were sold.

In the second half of the '60s, Jiri Smetana (1945-2016) established himself as a lyricist for the beat groups Matadors and George and Beatovens. His most famous lyrics, to Slunecny hrob (Snnny Grave), were sung by Vladimir Misik and Blue Effect.

Near the beginning of the normalisation period, his French wife did not receive a Czechoslovak visa, so Smetana emigrated in 1972. He started as help at the Gibus club in Paris--the most respected rock club in France. In a year, he'd already worked up to a DJ, and his unorthodox and progressive selection began competing with the Paris radio stations. He received an award for Best French DJ in the Rock category. He played records until 1981.

In 1979, he became the artistic director of Gibus. In seventeen years, he presented over five thousand French and British bands. He lived through the birth of punk, white reggae, new wave, and hardcore. During his time at the club, he saw Deep Purple, Kurythmics, The Damned, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Manu Chao, or David Bowie. What Czechoslovak music fans could only dream of- he lived it every day. In the '90s, he became the manager of Vera Bila and Kale, whom he took to twenty-six countries around the world. They even sold out the seventeen thousand tickets at the Hollywood Bowl.

Satanic Girls started as a dixieland orchestra: Diva tradicional (Girls' Traditional). The events of August 1968 found the ladies in Bulgaria. They delayed their return for two years and toured the world. They went on to a more popular repertoire: Blood, Sweat and Tears, Beatles, Patty Pravo, and others. After an ultimatum from Pragokoncert to return by the 30th of October 1970, they decided to emigrate. In order to receive Swedish passports and travel freely, Roland Ferneborg, their manager at the time (and also the manager of ABBA), suggested they many Swedish citizens. And so the names on the passports going to America were Irena Carlsson, Miluse Jakobsson, Vera Svensson, Vlasta Svensson, Hana Bogestam, and Jaroslava Eriksson.

They regularly appeared in Chile, at festivals and in the media. They were the first Chilean all-girl band with a rock repertoire--in this staunchly Catholic environment, they were provocative already in their name and attire. They wore short "hot pants" and high lace-up boots, Satanica, which are now mass produced. This was a group that emigrated from one socialist country in order to become famous in another. Paradoxically, a number of listeners saw them not as exiles, but as representatives of the culture of an allied state from the socialist camp.

Milan Knizak (*1940), active in the fields of visual art, music, and performative, was not--unlike those listed above--an emigrant. It was usually not his person that travelled over borders: it was his work.

Already in the '60s, he attracted the attention of the international neo-dada movement, Fluxus, founded in 1960 by George Maciunas with artists including Nam June Paik, Joseph Bettys, and Yoko Ono. He began experimenting with record players in 1964. He was tired of plaving a few records again and again, so he tried to play the few he had sped up or slowed down, later manipulating their sound through pasting, scratching, piercing, and breaking the records. In the 70s, Knizak began making new records from shards of sliced up LPs and working in a similar way with scores. He later came to see the manipulated records as artworks and exhibited them. The first recordings of "destroyed music" were published in Italy in 1979 on an album called Broken Music--this contained five recordings from the 1960s.

Milan Knizak was among the worldwide pioneers of a "different", searching musicalily, in which the record players and records slop being tools and become musical instruments. Experimenting turntablists around the world see him as an inspiration.

The preceding enumeration has no pretence to comprehensiveness. Its common denominator is the overcoming of the Iron Curtain despite the official cultural policy of the state. The most significant international success "with the blessing of the state" was achieved by Karel Gott, particularly in Germany. Many popular groups toured repeatedly around the Eastern Bloc countries, but trips west were exceptions.

by Petr Ferenc

"(BIG) BEAT MUSIC"

Though the origin of Ihis term is disputed (there are many western albums that use the term "beat"; there is Fats Domino with his hit "The Big Beat"), the generally accepted version is that rock'n'roll as a term was too disruptive for the regime's taste, so the term beaf or big beat was used instead, gaining traction in the 1960s. However, the term still survives to this day: "bigbifaci" are older fans of rock, the Czechoslovak Beat Festival takes place yearly, and Radio Beat remains one of the most popular rock radio stations.
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Title Annotation:czech music / event
Author:Ferenc, Petr
Publication:Czech Music
Geographic Code:4EXCZ
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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