As I write, two years ago today I had just returned the previous evening from a holiday of just over a week’s duration in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, rounding off that holiday by taking a walk from Mozarteum, Jungmannova in Prague, where Valinka had done many of her recordings, right out on Vinohradská, past Český Rozhlas (Czech Radio), where she had also done recordings, to the Nový Židovský Hřbitov (New Jewish Cemetery), where she is buried with her mother, Eva Kindová. Indeed, within eleven or so hours of being by Valinka’s graveside, I was back home in Belper, tavelling entirely under my own steam and on public transport!
Valinka’s and Valinka’s mother’s burial place in Sector 23
Valinka with her mother, in childhood and when Valinka was grown up
It is perhaps fitting that I had seen the grave covered with snow in what had been, in many parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a record-breakingly cold week, since today we are marking forty-four years to the day when ‘Sněhova vločka’ (‘Snowflake’) was recorded. To play the song and to get the recording credits please go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’. As can be seen, it was also one of those recordings to the accompaniment of Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem (Karel Vlach and His Orchestra) – the long-standing legend of the Popular Music of Czechoslovakia and of the Wartime Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia before that, to whom I was introduced via my discoveries relating to both ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ and ‘Girls Of The Golden East’.
On the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Pictures’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ there are some superb stills of Valinka performing the song on the TV show, ‘Ve společném rytmu’ (‘Together, In Rhythm’) on 15th November 1974, thanks to a short excerpt of that performance on the TV documentary on Valinka’s life and work in the ‘Příběhy slavných’ (‘Stories Of The Famous’) series, ‘Léta letí’ (‘Time Flies’).
It is doubly gratifying that, in the transcript, there is a short passage of Emil Synek’s lyrics of ‘Sněhova vločka’. Here they are, together with a translation courtesy of my beloved ImTranslator, with one or two modifications to make complete sense of them.
S vločkami si vítr hraje,
první padá a hned taje.
With flakes the wind plays,
first falls and then melts.
Snad ta druhá nebo třetí
potěší nás jako děti.
Perhaps the second or third
will please us as children.
První vločka, první láska,
jenom chvíli srdce laská,
First snowflake, first love,
just for a while your heart’s desire
byla krásná, byla tklivá,
na tváři jen krůpěj zbývá.
it was beautiful, it was tough,
on the face is just a drop.
Na tváři jen krůpěj zbývá…
on the face is just a drop….
Like the title of that documentary, that captures the fleeting nature of Valinka’s life in the public gaze, this passage of lyrics seems to do likewise.
I suppose, though, that one may (rather wickedly?) think thoughts along the lines of, “How can a woman as hot as Valinka was have snow lying on their grave???”