Boldog 50. születésnapot Bratislavská Lýra 1969!

On the evening of 18th June 1969 Valinka – sharing the bill with no less than The Beach Boys! – performed ‘Sunny’ at the Bratislavská Lýra of 1969. This evening of 18th June 2019 I was back at where the PKO Bratislava was before its demolition (quite a disgrace, considering the history of the place!), to be replaced by the River Park development, with a celebratory supper of an appropriately Hungarian-Slovak nature, Zlatý Bažant also celebrating a half-century, by the base of a lime tree – lime trees getting a mention in the lyrics of Valinka’s ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’) – where I’d sprinkled some of the precious ‘Démantová zem’ (‘Diamond Earth’) from just outside Valinka’s alma mater of the Gymnázium Pavla Horova, making this spot by the River Danube forever a part of the ‘louky’ (‘meadows’) of Michalovce, in the midst of this gleaming new complex.

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Boldog 50. születésnapot, ‘Sunny’ és ‘Čekám’!

Half-a-century ago to the day, on 26th May 1969, Valinka’s recording career kicked off with ‘Sunny’ and ‘Čekám’ (‘I Am Waiting’), so it’s a ‘Happy (fiftieth) Birthday!’ to those two recordings!

I think I said more or less all there can be said about this sensational beginning for a singer still aged just seventeen years and still just less than four months of age in this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ Blog post from two years ago, but I can add the following:

…to “gramofoman gramofoman”‘s YouTube video of ‘Sunny’ and “591010710”‘s (Aleš Korábek’s) YouTube video of ‘Čekám’ I can now add my own respective versions, shot on the 50th Anniversary, which are now at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’, with both being accompanied by André Černoušek’s (design) and Petr Polák’s (photography) on the front of the sleeve and the former being accompanied by (At Left) Valinka performing ‘Sunny’ on ‘Mladá píseň’, Jihlava (1968) (screen capture) and M. Borodáčová’s photograph of Valinka singing ‘Sunny’ at the Bratislavská Lýra on 18th June 1969 and the latter being accompanied by some screen captures of Valinka performing ‘Čekám’ – in very ‘Good Old Days’ style, waiting (as in the song’s title) at the horse tram stop, reflecting her later memorable album track, ‘Koňskou dráhou’! – on ‘Rajský ostrov’ (‘Paradise Island’) from 1970.

One would never tire of Petr Polák’s mesmerising shot of Valinka on the cover, so here it is below as well as being the ‘Featured Image’ above, if one is reading this post in stand-alone fashion.

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We’ve been ‘waiting’ for it and now the ‘Whirlwind from the East’ has arrived!

The outlook is as stormy as it is ‘sunny’, judging by those business-meaning eyes!

The Seventies could be quite a ride with this one!

Strap yourselves in, everybody!

…and GO!!!

Boldog születésnapot, ‘To je léto’ és ‘Synu můj’!

On 25th May 1972, at Čs. rozhlas (Czechoslovak Radio), Prague, Valinka recorded the dramatically contrasting tracks ‘To je léto’ (‘It’s Summer’) and ‘Synu můj’ (‘Son Of Mine’), the latter being a cover of Paul McCartney’s song for Wings, ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish’, so it’s a ‘Happy (forty-seventh) Birthday!’ to those two recordings today.

Given the fact that the weather here is currently very agreable (although it appears it will break up over the next few hours!) I have taken the opportunity to transport my DIY mega hi-fi set-up outdoors to make an appropriately Summery YouTube video of the two songs and the results are now at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’, with the recording details and credits.

I have also reviewed this previous ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post to embed the videos that I shot today and to make it entirely clear that ‘Synu můj’ can indeed be embedded now…and, after today,  I have my very own version to do so!

Referring to the sentiments of Michael Prostějovský’s lyrics for ‘Synu můj’, as alluded to in that post, I am getting better and better at actually following lyrics in Czech as they are sung and there is much talk in those lyrics of countries wanting to be free and of young people dying in the cause of that freedom, which might have been strong stuff in the Czechoslovakia of the ‘Normalizace’ Era. It isn’t overtly referred to, but maybe some sort of comment on the then-current state of affairs in the country was being attempted, in an admittedly tacit way – so tacit that it didn’t fall foul of any censorship.

I also thought it would be fitting to have the stunning ‘Sunshine Girl’ photo of Valinka that I use as the ‘Featured Image’ at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Pictures’ and one of Valinka in a bikini with her mother for the ‘To je léto’ video and one of Valinka in emerald green polka-dots for the ‘Synu můj’ video, being as it was a cover of ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish’!

 

 

Boldog születésnapot, ‘Důkaz mi dej’ és ‘Huascarán’!

Famously, in an article in the ‘Melodie’ magazine, it was remarked that Věra Špinarová might have been glad that, unlike her near sound-alike and junior by just over a month, Valérie Čižmárová, she had regular accompanists – in the shape of Ivo Pavlík’s band – and a tighter professional support network, enabling a more prolific recording career than was possible for Valinka, but, of any voice that was around at the time in Czechoslovakia it was Valinka’s that she would have loved to emulate…

…as set out in this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post from two years ago.

For Valinka’s recording sessions at Mozarteum of 4th May, 9th July and 24th September 1973 we had an almost painfully short glimpse into the possibilities an ‘answer’ to Ivo Pavlík’s band could have opened up for her as, forty-six years ago to the day, her ‘residence’ with Skupina Svatopluka Čecha (The Svatopluk Čech Group) opened with the recordings of  ‘Důkaz mi dej’ (‘Prove It To Me’) and ‘Huascarán’.

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Valinka with Skupina Svatopluka Čecha

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Valinka at a recording session at Mozarteum

To get a feel for how spectacular that just-less-than-five-months collaboration was just go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast.

For a time, Věra Špinarová and Ivo Pavlík were married to each other as well as having worked with each other.

I am sure that I once encountered some information on the Web indicating that Valinka’s future partner, the saxophonist, Pavel Kondelík – after her marriage with Dr Jaromír Langer had broken down – was in Skupina Svatopluka Čecha. If so, that would be he third from the left in the photo of the group with Valinka.

Although I am (still!) not absolutely 100% sure that it had been 1972 when that in-the-end ill-fated marriage had begun – Dr Langer seemingly erroneously thinking that being married to a Pop singer somehow magically bestowed him with the knowledge to be Valinka’s Manager, with all-too-predictable consequences! – it seems a pity to me that, if there was a ‘spark’ between Valinka and Pavel already back in 1973, she couldn’t have waited a year for a suitable husband.

It might have brought Valinka a win/win situation of more personal happiness and more professional success – I imagine that Pavel’s knowledge of the music ‘biz’ would have trumped Jaromír’s! – had it cemented that musical partnership.

We’ll never get to know.

All we ‘know’ is this – Valinka + Skupina Svatopluka Čecha = sheer brilliance!

 

Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ és boldog 40. születésnapot, ‘Žádný ptáčník nemá křídla’!

Today marks a double Recording Anniversary on both an exact decade and exact half-decade, for ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’) from this date in 1974, where Valinka took her bow after the incredible time in her recording career coinciding with my relatively brief passing-through at Herbert Strutt School as it transitioned from being a Grammar School to being a Middle School and, half a decade later, for the bizarrely double-negatively entitled ‘Žádný ptáčník nemá křídla’ (‘No Birdwatcher Has No Wings’), which would be the song that, a decade after her being introduced to the Bratislavská Lýra crowd as a seventeen-year-old and half-a-dozen years after narrowly missing out on a ‘podium finish’ at the Bratislavská Lýra with Petra Černocká’s ‘Koukej, se mnou si píseň broukej’ (‘Look, Hum The Song With Me’), would bring Valinka her more-than-justified reward of an actual ‘podium finish’, winning the Bronze Lyre of the Bratislavská Lýra of 1979.

So, by way of a re-post of a re-post, I will (indirectly) refer the ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ reader to one of the first ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ posts shortly after I’d decided to start a separate Blog from ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ some two years ago, after having become increasingly uncomfortable that so much of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ was being devoted to Valinka.

Sadly, the end of the 1970s was very much a time of fading power for Valinka and we weren’t so many years away, by then, from the way-premature end of her recording career, with event after event seeming to conspire against her in this respect, so perhaps – to keep that ornithological theme going – ‘Žádný ptáčník nemá křídla’ was a magnificent swan song to Valinka’s glory years in the recording studios.

Never mind, the song bird had flown a long way in the ten years from seventeen…

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…to twenty-seven…

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Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Je mu pět’!

Four-and-a-half decades ago to the day, for her first post-album recording, Valinka had a change of scenery regarding the city in which she was at a recording session by recording in Brno for the first time – at Čs. rozhlas, Brno (Czechoslovak Radio Brno) accompanied by – also for the first time – that ‘Great’ of the ‘Brno Scene’, Erik Knirsch, conducting the Brno Studio Orchestra. The song in question was ‘Je mu pět’ (‘He’s Five’) and was to appear in the ‘Písničky pro hvězdy’ (‘Songs For The Stars’) series of releases along with ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’), to be recorded a couple of days later back in Valinka’s more usual city of Prague.

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To play the song – which I take to be, in sentiment, very much along the lines of Brotherhood of Man’s Eurovision Song Contest of 1976 Winner, ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’, in terms of the way that song unforgettably ends – please go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast.

Deep (Purple) Waters

Over on the Sister Blog to ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, there has just been mention made of the book ‘Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture’ by Mark Voger and the connection between Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’ and Marcela Laiferová’s ‘Mlč’ (‘Hush’).

‘Hush’ dates from the time when the band’s lead singer was still Rod Evans, who was later replaced by the singer who was going to bring a lot more ‘Rock God’ singing to the group, Ian Gillan and who is interviewed in the book in his capacity as the player of the title role of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ – well, get a ‘God’ to play one!

Although it is not featured at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’, as not in her regular run of singles and album recordings, maybe it would be instructive, here, to draw attention to this Hungarian-speaking Czechoslovak’s cover of the song by the Hungarian ‘Great’, Kati Kovács, ‘Add már, Uram az esőt!’ (‘God, Give Us Rain!’ – yes, we can’t get away from God in this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post!), ‘Hluboké vody’ (‘Deep Waters’), from 1972 – music by Tibor Koncz and Czech-language lyrics by Eduard Krečmar and instrumental accompaniment from the Studio Orchestra under Pavel Vitoch, in which Valinka lets out a very Ian Gillan-esque scream, which I think shows that the ‘Soul Girl’, as which I primarily know her, could also be a ‘Rock Chick’.

At the ‘Valérie ČIŽMÁROVÁ’ Facebook Group I once spotted a remark from one member which had alternative translations of ‘Valérie was a god’ and ‘Valérie was from God’.

Either way, does ‘Hluboké vody’ not show that the still-young Valinka (just twenty at the time) was already walking on the proverbial ‘musical water’, no matter how deep that went?

…as deep as her phenomenal voice!