The Post-1989 Music Boom

Following the 1989 collapse of the regime, new trends came in place. Naturally, the presence of foreign institutions and companies has increased since the republic was open to various influences from abroad. Among the cultural institutions set in Prague in 1993 were The British Council, Goethe Institute and The French Institute. The Republic already split in the mentioned year, The Slovak Institute was also founded, underlining the fact that the two countries were now on their own paths. The first years also brought many world- famous bands that were forbidden and/or unwilling to have a concert in a communist state.

The presence of the likes of Frank Zappa, The Rolling Stones, Nick Cave or Velvet Underground had certain symbollic power, given the fact that the previous experience was so sad. There was one famous occasion when two West German bands, industrial pioneers Einsturzende Neubauten and confrontational punk band Die Toten Hosen were allowed to get on stage. The concert was, however, halted during the Toten Hosen performance and the angry crowd was supposed to cool down and cheer up as they were given the Czech disco star Michal David instead. The concert ended with the police stepping in.

The first half of the 1990s was a period of founding new music clubs in the city centre. Rock and pop clubs of various kind were on the rise, though the majority promoted conventional musical styles. There was some kind of counter- music to be heard in the squats ( Ladronka, Milada, Papírna ) and the more open- minded music clubs or theatre buildings.

There was an increase in the activities of opera houses and classical music ensembles. To great extent due to a rise in investments and a general shift of the West’s attention towards the „liberated“ East. Stars and ensembles came to visit and helped promote local artists. The rise in attention was very substantial. Firstly, lots of people were eager to see the land, but were forbidden to do so. Secondly there was the post-1989 enthusiasm. The Republic, thought of as a rigid socialist state with heavily polluted environment and backward, unfasionable technology, now seemed to be of interest after all. This was to some extent supported by the fairy tale of a peaceful old land, which got rid of its opressors without a drop of blood and embraced Václav Havel, „the philosopher king“. But that is another issue.

The situation now is more diverse. There are various clubs and the range of musical styles on offer is satisfactory even for those in search for unconventional walls of sound. Only these have to look more carefully, since the promotion is, like elsewhere, naturally dominated by the profitable.

1 Comments for The Post-1989 Music Boom

  1. Rada said,

    Feb 3, 20:46 #

    Your blog is very interesting! I’ve been to Prague this summer but for a very short time. I learnt more about it on your blog. I listed it in my blogroll. You can have a look on mine ;)

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