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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 14 - 12/14/97

Ilona Csakova
EMI - Monitor

The original lead singer for Laura and Her Tigers (Laura a jeji tygri), Ilona Csakova left the band around 1992 to embark on an ambitious - and disastrous - project involving Michal Horacek and Martin Kucaj. That resulted in probably the most expensive Czech video accompanying possibly the worst-selling Czech CD of all time.

Since then, she settled into a comfortable solo career singing somewhat middle-of-the road pop and starring as 'Sheila' in the revival of musical Hair. Thanks to her rendition of I Will Follow Him coming on the heels of Woopie Goldberg's film Sister Act, she became once again a favorite on the Czech television music-video shows.

Her current release Pink doesn't stray too far from the bubble gum pop she's been exploiting since. Based on the Michael Bolton Dictum (If it made money once it will make money again), producer Roman Stefl alternates his own originals with hits from the sixties.

And so the album opens with his huly-gully Pink and the vaguely tropical Leto (Summer), followed by a bouncy Trini Lopez-like rendition of Pete Seeger's If I Had A Hammer. Things get a little odd on Svatba pod Bezdezem (Wedding Under the Bezdez Mountain) which mixes into the sixties bubble gum some rap from the nineties and the remake of the Bee Gees' hit Massachusetts that contains a droning male vocal, possibly by the album's auteur himself.

From there on Ilona engages the autopilot, save for Vrat se zpatky domu (Come Back Home) - easily the most interesting cut on the album. Here at last she has a chance to express some other emotion than just happy bounciness. But even then, the overall mood comes out rather subdued. This is not fair, she announces flatly as we trudge on to the end, alternating Stefl's disposable pop with Pata (Petula Clark's Downtown) and Tenhle kluk (Just One Look already made famous by Doris Troy in 1962 and by Helena Vondrackova & Marta Kubisova in 1963.).

Pink just doesn't cut it. In my opinion, Fluff would have been a better title.

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