Nico, legenda hudebního undergroundu, v Brně a Praze. Ke koncertování zahraničních hudebníků v komunistickém Československu
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Nico, a Music Underground Legend, in Brno and Prague: Concerts by Foreign Musicians in Communist Czechoslovakia
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As a case study this article considers two unique appearances in ‘normalized’ Czechoslovakia in the mid-1980s by Nico, a singer famous for her work with Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground. It does so in the context of Western pop concerts in the country at that time. The author discusses how professional concerts by foreign artists in the 1970s and 1980s could be negotiated only by the state-run music agency Pragokoncert. Such concerts by singers or groups from the West were largely exceptional. On an amateur basis, however, interest groups (for example, clubs or societies) could invite foreign musicians, as the Jazz Section did during the Prague Jazz Days festival. Other opportunities were provided by the initiatives of the arts centres ( kulturní střediska ), so long as some enterprising, fearless, nonconformist music organizers worked there. That was true, for example of the Opatov Arts Centre (Kulturní dům Opatov) in Prague, with its deputy head Vojtěch Lindaur, and the Brno III District Arts and Education Centre (Obvodní kulturní a výchovné středisko Brno III) led by Lenka Zogatová. It was thanks to them that, on 3 and 4 October 1985, Nico could give her Brno and Prague concerts, on her way back to West Germany from Hungary. Whereas the Brno concert, in the dance hall of a village pub on the outskirts of town, took place practically in secret and without problems, the Prague concert in the Opatov Arts Centre (also on the outskirts) was vexed by organizational difficulties in the arts centre, and was ultimately raided by the police. Lindaur was questioned by the secret police and lost his job. On the other hand, the event was given publicity by the Czechoslovak service of the Voice of America radio station. In reconstructing the events, the author juxtaposes secret-police materials with oral-history interviews with participants.
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