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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 23 - 09/06/98

Various Artists
The Best of KSC
Sony Music Bonton

The unspoken purpose for most music is to entertain. By using sounds one can evoke in the listeners many feelings, such as happiness, sadness, exuberance, wistfulness etc. But there are also more utilitarian reasons for creating music - one can for instance relax, scare, even rouse listeners into political action.

"Say what???" That's right, Comrade - all the songs in this compilation were sanctioned by the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC). Recorded between 1951 and 1962 and remastered from the original Supraphon recordings, these "Selected Czech Songs for the Masses in Exemplary Interpretation" offer something for everyone... and then some.

We get treated not only to a Sportsmen's March (1959), but also to a Red Sportsmen's March (1962); not only to Song for Farmworkers (1958), but also to Song of the Farm Machinery Workers (1961). That also must've been an important year for jet fighters - in 1961 they got their own Song of the Jet Fighter Pilots, as well as the Song of the Fighter Planes. Then there is the March of the Red Seamen (so what if Czechoslovakia never had a Navy of it's own), and the Prisoners' Song - the Party wouldn't want to leave anybody out, now would it?! And who could forget Vpred, soudruzi, smele (Onward Comrades, Boldly)? Well, I hope everybody can!

'And what is the message here anyway,' I hear you ask. Take for instance Dobry' den (Good Day) from 1961. Please.

Dobry' den, maminko v sátku Hello to that mom in a scarf
at vám slunce brzo prádlo ususí. Let the sun dry your laundry fast.
Dobry' den, kolono v chládku Hello, comrade soldiers
hodne dobré atmosféry do dusí. May your spirits soar high.
Dobry' den, tátové v díle Hello, fathers at work,
vasi kluci z vojny pozdravují vás, Your sons in the military are greeting you.
dobry' den, vsechny nase milé - Hello to all our sweethearts,
dobry' den, lidé kolem nás. Hello to the people around us.

(Just aren't we all happy little campers here?)

Then there is Kamarádi (Friends), from 1958:

Kamarádi, je to mládí Friends, it is the youth
kterému dnes patrí svet. The world belongs to now.
Je to cisty' ze fasisti It's clear that fascists
nebudou nám poroucet. Will not rule us anymore.
Je konec bídy, je konec hl- End of poverty, end of hu-

...somehow, at this point my finger always seemed to hit the STOP button...

I hear you ask with a smirk on you face: "Who would want record this stuff and why would anybody want to listen to it?" Maybe next time you find yourself standing in a line at Disneyland listening to 'It's a Small, Small World' for the fiftieth time that day, maybe, just maybe, the answers will come to you...

Meanwhile, be grateful for all the music only meant to entertain.

Copyright © 1998 Ivan Sever e-mail address

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