Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Friendships Through Old World Music

January was such an exciting month. I'm sure many of my Facebook friends reading this blog could tell you about the pictures and posts of the trips that my family and I made to see a Czech dechovka band play around Texas.  This band, Moravská Jedenáctka, was not just any other band. This band came on a concert tour from the Moravian region of the Czech Republic. Not only that, but many of these guys became my friends two years ago.

Moravská Jedenáctka-2014

It is a pretty funny story, how I became friends with the returning members. In 2012, I was waiting at the Czech Center Museum Houston for the concert to start when two of the men came up to me and said, "You are zpěvačka [singer] from YouTube!!" At that point, my Mom and I stood, looking at each other completely dumbfounded, and then started laughing because it seemed like the craziest thing to happen. I was completely surprised because I had no idea that people in the Czech Republic had even seen any of my videos.  That night made me realize that I had truly shared my heritage on a new level.  It was a special concert with new friends and I didn't want it to end!

Střibřnanka- Czech Cultural Museum Houston 2012

Here is a clip from when the band asked me to sing Červená Sukýnka with them two years ago:

Luckily, that was not the "end" and the dechovka band came to Texas a second time. As a vocalist for a dechovka band in Texas, I especially love to hear the music from the old country. I've been hearing it all of my life! It is still alive and vibrant in many of the towns in the Czech Republic. The fact that the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas (in partnership with University of North Texas) was able to sponsor many members of this group to tour for the second time is ASTOUNDING! Thank you, CEFT and UNT for making this happen! Also, thank you to all of the donors to this foundation. Without your help, this would not be possible. I know that everyone who saw the performances fully enjoyed the program. Many people danced and sang along to the familiar sounds of their childhood. At the end of some concerts, people would come together around the stage to sing the last song with the band. It was a sight to see and it touched my heart knowing that we all have the same love for our heritage. (If you would like more information about CEFT and their mission please visit their website: Czech Educational Foundation of Texas )

 I could not make it to every concert in the two-week time period, but I attended 4 different occasions (Austin, La Grange, Houston and Dallas). I also had the privilege to sing with them. Here are some pictures from their tour. (Thanks, Eddie Kosar!)

West, TX
Caldwell, TX
Austin, TX

Here is a video from the Austin Performance:
Dudacka polka

La Grange, TX
Dallas, TX

Here is a video of the last song of their tour, a crowd favorite: A Ja Sam

Tom Sovik is the Director of Central European Studies at UNT. He drove the band everywhere and was exhausted by the last day as seen in this photo. 

My wish is that this can happen more often in the future. It is something we should not take for granted. The Czech community is slowly fading and these types of events can help get the younger generation involved....I mean, look at me! ;-) On a serious note, I hope this blog encourages its readers to understand the importance and beauty of keeping culture alive. America is full of different cultures, why not celebrate yours?

S láskou,

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