In mid-April we will be hosting Czech Week in the Portland Synth Library. This is a celebration of our new sister Synth Library opening in Prague. Join us in the library to meet some of our community from the Czech Republic, build instruments with them, and play synths. Joining us will be a crew of Bastl employees straight from Czech, including Ondrej Merta, co-owner. We're all very excited to further solidify our bonds as an internationally connected community of artists, educators, and innovators working toward a more equitable future. Let's build and play together!
Underground Music and Politics: A brief history of music from behind the Iron Curtain and a conversation about the political role in music today
with Ondrej Merta of Bastl Instruments
Thursday April 12th
" I would like to bring you story and music from the world which can not be more far to you. At least at the time it happened. It’s about the history of music deep behind the Iron curtain, at the time, when brothers rose up Kalashnikovs against his brother - in 1968, Russian, Polish, Hungarian and Bulgarian armies came to the Czech Republic to kill reformation (and some people) and start the "normalisation" of a communist regime.
Sometimes the world is just a weird place playing by crazy rules.
Czechoslovakian band Plastic People of the Universe (found with intention to play Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa covers) were not political at all. They, and many other bands, though not political, were not normal enough for the regime during the time of normalization.
How does it become that without any political intentions that a musician becomes a politicized figure? Politically involved to the point of going into prison for playing music, or losing citizenship in your country? And; what happens when everything is allowed, and no matter how political you want to be, nobody gives a shit about that.
From the story of underground music, I would like to get to the point when we can discuss political role of music/art in these days, share experience, opinions, thoughts.
Please don't expect any kind of expert who is coming to praise good old days or preach revolution or something like that. I just have a strange feeling that something needs to be changed and i am not sure where to start. "