Boldog születésnapot, ‘Pojď jen dál’ és ‘Sbohem, školní bráno’!

Forty-six years ago to the day, Valinka recorded ‘Pojď jen dál’ (‘Just Come On’) and ‘Sbohem, školní bráno’ (‘Farewell, School Gate’).

Having reviewed what I wrote at ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ a year ago, marking four-and-a-half decades since those recordings I don’t think I can improve on those sentiments.

and this is what I wrote.

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Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Dál než nejdál’, ‘Padal déšť’ és ‘Píseň o kraji’!

On this day exactly four-and-a-half decades ago Valinka commenced the recording of her eponymous LP, which was to be released in the subsequent year, so it is a ‘Happy 45th Birthday!’ in Valinka’s native Hungarian to the following fabulous tracks.

The recording session of the day was for ‘Dál než nejdál’ (‘Further Than The Furthest’), ‘Padal déšť’ (‘The Rain Was Falling’) and ‘Píseň o kraji’ (‘Song About The Region’). These can all be played at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page, where the recording details and credits can be found.

I have previously featured the first and the last of these tracks on ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ and it is on the middle one on which I shall be concentrating today, especially as it maybe could be – as well as ‘Léta letí’ (‘Time Flies’) – some sort of ‘signature tune’, given the bars of the song played near the beginning and towards – and at – the end of the ‘Příběhy slavných – Léta letí’ (‘Stories Of The Famous – Time Flies’) documentary on Czech Television.

Here are the snippets of Vladimír Poštulka’s lyrics from the transcript, together with an ImTranslator translation.

Padal déšť do větví…

Rain fell into branches …

…padal déšť do větví,
chodil tmou po špičkách…

… rain fell into branches,
walked by in the darkness …

Fittingly, I sorted out some seasonally bare twigs from the garden and arranged them in my amber-coloured Czechoslovakian-made glass vase and sprinkled them with water to replicate the fallen rain in branches Valinka references in this song of breathy sophistication, grandeur and glamour, also – since, during the singing of those lyrics in the ‘Léta letí’ documentary, Valinka’s mortality is alluded to – reflecting the immortal cover shot by Vladivoj Burjanek…

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…to say nothing of the rear cover shot, also by Vladivoj Burjanek, in which case I – maybe somewhat cheekily! – often think to myself that the emphasis is indeed on the ‘rear’! 😉

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Is this one of those ultra-rare cases where the quality of the contents Valinka began to lay down on record forty-five years ago today can, for once, be judged by the cover?

It is also hoped that my three-tweeter, three sub-woofer, one super-woofer hi-fi system fully does justice to the grandeur of ‘Padal déšť’.

After all, glamour and grandeur were what Valinka ‘did’…so well!

Boldog 67. születésnapot, Valinka

Half a century ago today, Valinka would have become the age at which she would make her first recordings for vinyl and today she should have become sixty-seven, so, recalling that (accidentally!) I took her – or rather, her eponymous LP! – on a walk in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside on what just happened to be her ‘name day’ of 18thApril last year, I thought I’d do likewise, by way of a birthday treat, on the first of what should have been her birthdays at my new address. Here are the photos I took of that LP posed, the second pair of which, rather opportunistically, have a Derbyshire flag in the background!

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Whenever thinking about Valinka and the countryside I am inevitably reminded of Petr Markov’s words to Valinka’s ‘V poschodí pátém’ (‘On The Fifth Floor’). Here they are with a couple of versions of an ImTranslator-based translation.

1. Z okna se dívám, v poschodí bydlím pátém

Jak sem a tam lidé chodí blátem

V městě k zbláznění plném aut

Když sama bývám, moc se mi stýská, po rodných loukách v dáli

Kde chlapec píšťalu z proutí píská

A kde zní chóry ptačích flaut

R: Bráním se bráním, bráním se přání

K lesům a stráním, zpátky se vrátit zas k nám

Kde snad každý kámen znám

Čistému dni vstříc brouzdat ránem

Vědět že čas víc není mým pánem

Prostě jen tak žít a šťastná být

Třeba jenom pár dní

3. Z okna se dívám, v poschodí pátém, u nás jsou domky nízké

A táta plot dávno už spravil drátem

Mně však zdá se teď hezčí tím

Nádraží blízké, proč na ně koukám a nejdu si koupit lístek
Když výpravčí mává a rychlík houká
Ach jak ráda bych jela s ním

R:

1. From the window I watch on the fifth floor where I live

As here and there people walk in mud

The city full of maddening cars

When I live alone, I’m really homesick for its native meadows in the distance

Where the boy whistles with a straw whistle

Where choruses of birds sound

R: the gateway to the goal, the defending card

The forests and hillsides, before returning again to us

Where I know almost every stone

Clean day meet browse morning

Knowing that more time is not my master

Simply just live and be happy

Maybe just a couple of days

3. From the window I watch the fifth floor, in our houses are low

Dad has made a long wire fence

But to me it seems nicer now that

Station nearby, why I look at them and I’m not going to buy a ticket
When the dispatcher waving and hooting express
Oh how I would go with him

R:

1. I look out of the window, on the fifth floor where I live

how to get here and there people go in mud

in maddening full of cars

I’m usually by myself
when I miss, too, the native pastures far away

where the straw whistle of the boy whistles

and where sounds choruses of birds

R: resist resist, resist the wishes of

to forests and hillsides, back to go back again to us

where I know every stone

Neat day toward a morning surf

Know that more time is not my master

just to live and be happy
only a few days

3. I look out of the window, in the fifth floor, in our low houses

and my father a long time ago already fixed wire fence

To me, however, now this seems to be nicer

Station nearby, why them and I’m not going to buy a ticket
when the dispatcher waving and express train there
Oh how I’d love to go with him

To play ‘V poschodí pátém’ and for the recording details and other performing/composition credits please go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’.

Next time – all being well! – I’ll actually have a copy of that single to take with me to places ‘where I know every stone’!

 

 

Boldog születésnapot, ‘Sněhová vločka’!

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!

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Mozarteum

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Český Rozhlas

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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???”

Boldog születésnapot, ‘Tak měj mě rád’ és ‘Mít aero a létat’!

Unfortunately, last year, on the anniversary marking the four-and-a-half decades since the recording, at Mozarteum, Prague, of ‘Tak měj mě rád’ (‘So Just Love Me’) and ‘Mít aero a létat’ (‘To Have A Plane And To Fly’) I was unable to celebrate that auspicious occasion with a YouTube video of my own, since I was not in possession of the original vinyl single – I made an exception in the cases of ‘Žár léta’ (‘The Heat Of Summer’), ‘Náhodou’ (‘By Chance’) and ‘Spousta příběhů’ (‘Lots Of Stories’), which I took from my downloading of ‘Singly (1969 – 1973)’ on my laptop, so that Valinka’s spectacular 1973-recorded output could be enjoyed on YouTube in its entirety – Since that time I have acquired a couple of copies of this single, so, over on the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, today’s freshly-uploaded videos of both tracks are now embedded for the listening pleasure of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ readers! I hope you all also enjoy the flower arrangement in my Czechoslovak-manufactured amber-coloured glass vase, with what I could find in the garden at my new house, where I have been since October of last year, for ‘Tak měj mě rád’, the little model biplane that was one of the things that my late father would probably have spotted in a charity shop on one of his many jaunts out on the bus, for ‘Mít aero a létat’ and that transfixing stare Valinka gives Luboš Svátek in that 1972-taken cover photograph.

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Furthermore, I hope readers enjoy the sound of my nine-inch/twenty-two centimetre speaker (a sort of ‘super-woofer’!) that was a staple of playing records back in the days when my age was in single digits, together with three sub-woofers and one tweeter in my home-made super-hi-fi system made out of objects I already had for nothing, plus a £10 turntable/speaker, from a British Heart Foundation electrical shop, making, in effect, another two tweeters on top of that…which makes up for the fact that, annoyingly, the built-in turntable on which it is placed does not play at the correct speed. Indeed, in response to my YouTube video of that other Vítězslav Hádl, Ladislav Pikart and Petr Markov number, apart from ‘Tak měj mě rád’, that gets played in the background during the film, ‘Jak utopit Doktora Mráčka aneb konec vodníku v Čechách’ (‘How To Drown Doctor Mráček Or The End Of The River Sprites In The Czech Lands’), ‘Koňskou dráhou’ (‘On The Horse Tram’), I have received a complaint to that very effect…that it could do with being just a little bit slower. It’s very welcome that it has only recently occurred to me that I can by-pass the too-fast turntable and power what I think of as ‘the speaker’ with records played at the correct speed. After all, a huge voice like Valinka’s deserves a commensurately huge system!

In the course of compiling ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ I was somewhat hesitant regarding where I should place both ‘Oči nelžou’ (‘Eyes Don’t Lie’) and ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ (‘You Keep Saying How You Care About Me’) in terms of the school I was attending at the time, since, at that time (28th August 1972) I had not started at Herbert Strutt School yet. Given that ‘Tak měj mě rád’ and ‘Mít aero a létat’  were also recorded at Mozarteum to the accompaniment of an orchestra under the direction of Pavel Vitoch I am pleased that I opted to place ‘Oči nelžou’ and ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ in the section relating to the school I was about to start rather than the one I had attended prior to the Summer Holiday of 1972, since one cannot separate these two sessions, as Valinka was leading up to hitting the ‘Big Two-One’ on 29th January 1973.

Like ‘V poschodí pátém’ (‘On The Fifth Floor’), recorded exactly six months later – another Valinka recording from the crack team of Hádl, Pikart and Markov – ‘Tak měj mě rád’ is a fabulous tune, featuring what could almost be described as ‘Rapping’ from Sbor Lubomíra Pánka (The Lubomír Pánek Singers), backed up by yet another in the shape of ‘Mít aero a létat’, with a tune from the Soviet Union-based Juri Antonov – a composer with a surname with which to conjur in aviation circles! I like to think of ‘Mít aero a létat’ as what I call ‘Eastern Soul’ – music with a distinctively Northern Soul-like beat and rhythm composed entirely east of the former Iron Curtain…and the sound effects of the soaring aeroplane are the icing on the cake! (That Valinka was to be cutting at her coming-of-age party twenty days down the line?)

The lyrics of ‘Tak měj mě rád’ are unfortunately unavailable, but those of ‘Mít aero a létat’ are…and – with suitably-modified words – here are Petr Markov’s lyrics translated by ImTranslator.

Mít éro a létat a zákonům tíže se od srdce smát.
Všem výškám se rouhat,
je má tajná touha.
Mít éro a létat a s větrem si hrát.

To have something to fly and to laugh from the heart at the laws of gravity.
To blaspheme from all the heights,
is my secret desire.
To have something to fly and to play with the wind.

Mít éro a létat a koukat jak nízko je Lomnický štít.
Jak náhle je blízká,
má víska i Kréta.
Mít éro a létat a s sebou tě vzít

To have something to fly and to see how low the Lomnicky peak is.
How suddenly is near,
my village and Crete.
To have something to fly and take you with me

Nebuď hochu bázlivý,
svěř svou ruku mé dlani.
Dřív než chvíle bláznivý,
překazí nám svítání.

Don’t be timid boy,
entrust your hand to my palm.
Before the crazy moment,
dawn is approaching us.

Mít éro a létat nad městem i loukou kde rozkvétá mák.
Nad tečkami stříšek,
bez závratí z výšek.
Mít éro a létat tak hojně jak pták.

To have something to fly over the city and the meadow where poppies bloom.
Above the dots, pots,
without dizziness from the heights.
To have something to fly as frequently as a bird.

Mít aero a létat a koukat jak nízko je Lomnický štít.
Jak náhle je blízká,
má víska i Kréta.
Mít aero a létat a s sebou tě vzít.

To have a plane and to fly and to see how low the Lomnicky peak is.
How suddenly is near,
my village and Crete.
To have a plane and to fly and take you with me.

Nebuď hochu bázlivý,
svěř svou ruku mé dlani.
Dřív než chvíle bláznivý,
překazí nám svítání.

Don’t be timid boy,
entrust your hand to my palm.
Before the crazy moment,
dawn is approaching us.

I’m not sure if that wooden model is meant to be of an early Antonov product, but “chocks away!” to the ‘Antonov 73’ (nickname, the ‘Valinka’!) on its epic flight through that year, nevertheless.

I think we’ll ‘just love’ it! 😉

 

Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Spousta příběhů’ és ‘Zrzek’!

After having had her residency at the Mozarteum recording studio with the accompaniment of Skupina Svatopluka Čecha (The Svatopluk Čech Group) for the recordings of ‘Důkaz mi dej’ (‘Prove It To Me’), ‘Huascarán’, ‘V poschodí pátém’ (‘On The Fifth Floor’), ‘Malý princ’ (‘Little Prince’), ‘Láska na dlani’ (‘Love On The Palm Of Your Hand’) and ‘Náhodou’ (‘By Chance’) , Valinka made it a ‘bookending’ – four-and-a-half decades ago to the day, as I write – returning to the accompaniment of Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem (Karel Vlach and His Orchestra), only this time at Čs. televize (Czechoslovak Television), Prague as opposed to Čs. rozhlas (Czechoslovak Radio), Prague, for the recordings of ‘Spousta příběhů’ (‘Lots Of Stories’) and ‘Zrzek’ (‘Redhead’).

Whereas ‘Zrzek’ has had a YouTube presence, thanks to the user ‘Pepan’, for over eight years now, ‘Spousta příběhů’ has never been privileged with such exposure, so, today being an anniversary on a half-decade, I thought this would be the ideal juncture at which to rectify this state of affairs. So, this cool slice of Pop-Soul, from the composer of my all-time favourite Valinka track, ‘ Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ (‘You Keep Saying How You Care About Me’), Vladimír Rukavička, with treatment, thanks to both Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem and Sbor Lubomíra Pánka (The Lubomír Pánek Singers) that, to my mind, gives it the feel of a classic, ‘swinging’ signature tune of an Early-/Mid-1970s sitcom is now, as of today, on YouTube thanks to Yours Truly and it can now be enjoyed at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, together with the first outing for Gustav Šeďa’s funky sleeve design, (used on Valinka’s singles from 1974 to 1976), thereby giving Valinka her first serious ‘branding’ and the beginning of the colour photography era on Valinka’s sleeves, with Vilém Sochůrek’s front and rear cover photographs, plus the black and white ones from clearly the same photo-shoot, where Valinka first exhibited her memorable scalloped-hemmed, high-waisted, black suede hot pants, later seen on the rear cover of her eponymous LP – a garment so memorable that I’d almost like to see it described, in future, as “a pair of ‘Valinkas'”.

So, I hope all ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ readers will enjoy this particular “pair of ‘Valinkas'” – by which I mean ‘Spousta příběhů’ and ‘Zrzek, here! – the latter of which I have come to regard as a sort of natural extension to Valinka’s previous recording with Karel Vlach with the initial ‘Z’, ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ (‘In Sunshine, In Water’), which now means that the entirety of Valinka’s astounding 1973 output – that I think would make an ideal album in its own right – is now available on YouTube!

VČTV

Due to a recent YouTube uploading by the user ’59fanfan’, ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ readers can now have the pleasure of viewing two (admittedly short!) entire TV shows dedicated to Valinka, hence the title of this post – the Valérie Čižmárová Television channel.

The first of these is ‘Písničky ke kávě’ (‘Songs For A Coffee Break’) from 1972 and the second is ‘Chvíle pro písničku’ (‘A Little Time For Songs’) from 1978.

As well as – in the case of ‘Písničky ke kávě’ – Valinka’s specially composed ‘Pán s loutnou’ (‘The Gentleman With The Lute’) and – in the case of ‘Chvíle pro písničku’ – her specially composed ‘To je zvyk’ (‘It’s Habit’), we can see Valinka covering such an extensive variety of originals as – in the case of ‘Písničky ke kávě’ – Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution, with ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ (‘I Haven’t Been Crazy For A Long Time’) and The Sweet, with ‘Koko’ and – in the case of ‘Chvíle pro písničku’ – Donna Summer, with ‘Tikot všech hodin’ (‘Ticking All The Time’), Baccara, with ‘Tak se pozná dáma’ (‘So You Know I’m A Lady’) and Hungary’s Kati Kovács, with ‘Návrat uvítám’ (‘I Welcome The Return’)…

…the originals – in the order mentioned above – being: ‘Sha-La Love You’, ‘Co-Co’, ‘Wasted’, ‘Sorry I’m A Lady’ and ‘Télutó’ (‘The End Of Winter’).

Running Order:

‘Pán s loutnou’, ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’, ‘Koko’

Running Order:

‘Tikot všech hodin’, ‘To je zvyk’, ‘Tak se pozná dáma’, ‘Návrat uvítám’

Full composition credits for all these tracks can be found at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’.

I hope you have all enjoyed a little bit of an evening – or maybe a morning, afternoon or even small hours! – settled down in front of VČTV.