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August 21 is the 50th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The invasion took place to end the reforms of the Prague Spring (Pražské jaro) movement, which were meant to show “socialism with a human face.” Troops from other Warsaw Pact countries crossed the Czechoslovak border at 11 pm on Aug. 20 and tanks entered Prague at 6 am Aug 21. Tanks fired at the National Museum, mistaking it for a government building. There was heavy fighting at the main office of Czechoslovak Radio on Vinohradská Street. After the invasion, Czechoslovakia was put under a process of “normalization” by the Soviet Union. It lasted until 1989.
Amongst the disillusioned in Prague where musicians and music lovers. Culture had been an important part of the golden 60s and music had a strong tradition in Czechoslovakia. The decade following the invasion was no exception. Concerts and festivals became protests, and a “second culture” was formed.
A free concert will mark the dark anniversary of the Warsaw Pacts invasion of Czechoslovakia.
WHAT: A COMMEMORATIVE CONCERT
To honor the memory of the cultural history and resistance, a handful of the LEGENDARY SONGS associated with the period 1968-1989 have been translated by Hynek Pallas and they will be performed by the Swedish band Liljor.
Venue: Scala theatre (the basement)
Date: 25 august Time: Doors open at 21:00
About 1968 and the Czech-Swedish context
Amongst the disillusioned in Prague where musicians and music lovers. Culture had been an important part of the golden 60s and music had a strong tradition in Czechoslovakia. The decade following the invasion was no exception. Concerts and festivals became protests, and a “second culture” was formed. One of the organizers of these events where barely tolerated or forbidden musicians played and dissidents gathered was Jiri Pallas. After signing the human rights document Charta 77 he and his wife Jitka Bidlasová were forced to leave the country. They ended up in Sweden.
A month later there was a knock on their door.
Thus began a musical and cultural underground bond between Sweden and Czechoslovakia that has largely been forgotten. After visiting the Pallas-family two Swedish journalists went to Prague in 1978 and recorded illegal musicians in basements. They were closely watched by the secret police but managed to get the recordings out of the country with the help of the Swedish national hockey team. In Sweden, LPs were made. Then smuggled back behind the iron curtain. The record company Safran functioned from the Pallas-apartment for almost ten years and produced plays by Vaclav Havel and many music albums.
To honor the memory of this unknown resistance and cultural history a handful of the songs released and associated with the period 1968-1989 have been translated by Hynek Pallas, Swedish author (who grew up packaging the albums for further smuggling to the east).
They will be performed by the Swedish band Liljor, who previously have released a critically lauded album of translated songs by the Finnish tango musician Pentti Viherluoto.