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Bara Basikova
Bara Basikova
Monitor

In her first solo outing, this popular Czech artist doesn't stray far from known territory. Although every cut is written by a different composer, almost all the musicians have worked together before. This helps to keep the sound and the style of the album consistent.

For instance, the opening Ti zvlastni (The Odd Ones) which features Bara's low and soft singing and a guitar solo by Slavek Janda was written by Josef Vondrasek, Janda's old partner from the 'Abraxas' days. (Basically an identical solo turns up later in Bila kraci - Strutting White.) Or in Vikend lvich vasni (Weekend of Lion Passions), the YoYo Band's Tesarik brothers make a brief appearance on Bara's behalf. Vilem Cok, who contributed Mouchy jdou (Marching Flies) and Ota Balaz - who later became Balage - started out together in the band 'Nova ruze' (New Rose). Other musicians who wrote songs and play here, Stromboli's Michal Pavlicek (whose band Bara fronted from 1984 to 1989), Karel Sucha from Laura a jeji tygri and David Koller Lucie, are well known musicians in their own right.

Basikova started out in 1982 with the progressive rock band Precedens when she was just 18. It is that band's founding fathers Jan "Sahara" Hedl and Martin Nemec who are behind her self-titled release. While Nemec's techno-pop production keeps the album together, Hedl's lyrics are mostly incomprehensible. Take for instance this excerpt from Soumerna (Symmetrical):

To sail on a vessel of fire through twilight of virgins
Where no desire holds its breath,
In the shadows of edges
I'm symmetrical.

Oddly, with lyrics this incomprehensible the songwriting suffers from a lack of imagination. But is Bara Basikova really Bara's album? Consider this:

  • She has proven she can sing better than this, performing the role of Mary in the Czech version of Jesus Christ, Superstar for five years, before collapsing on stage in 1995.
  • She is more creative than this; after all, the world renowned author Bohumil Hrabal has written the introduction to her acclaimed novel Rozhovory s utekem (The Runaway Conversations).
  • She's also a well-known model, yet the two pictures on the CD show her as an under-nurished, bulimic waif.
  • Being a popular actress, appearing for instance in the 1990 comedy Prazaci, ty se maj (Prague Residents Live Well), she could've shown more clout.

So how does this record rank? Not too good, I'm afraid. The debut album of an experienced and talented entertainer such a Bara Basikova should've been better. Hopefully, in the future she'll listen more to herself and less to the voices from her past.

Copyright © 1998 Ivan Sever e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Bara Basikova article/review: Gregoriana.

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