Jazz, electronics and rap will be offered at this year’s Prague Sounds festival, formerly known as Strings of Autumn. It will take place from November 1 to 18 at various locations in Prague and will be opened by the first Prague concert of singing pianist Benjamin Clementine. Jazz double bassist Ron Carter and electronic music producer Alva Noto will also perform.
Organizers announced the program on Wednesday. “We will present music that you won’t hear anywhere else, you won’t see any of the foreign names at any other domestic festival. We place each concert in a carefully selected hall, thanks to which you can experience the artists in an environment that you would not expect. The goal is to create an unrepeatable experience unique for the audience and the artists.” festival president Marek Vrabec summarizes. “Especially in the post-covid era, which bets more on certainty, we are trying to open the way for new names and enable them to enter the world of spotlights,” he adds to the program.
The thirty-four-year-old pianist and singer will open the festival on November 1 in the Rudolfinum Benjamin Clementine, winner of the prestigious Mercury Prize. On his albums and concerts, he combines elements of classical music, chanson and jazz.
“He is a troubadour from another world. He started as a busker in the streets of Paris, where he sold food at a stand,” Vrabec recalls, adding that Clementine did not have a permanent residence in the French capital at one point. He survived only because of the music he played on the street. “He seems from another world, he often sits behind the piano in a long coat, barefoot, and just sings with his captivating, authentic and mystically soulful voice,” describes the festival director.
An eighty-six-year-old double bass player will also play in the Rudolfinum two days later Ron Carter, who participated in more than 2,200 recordings, earning him a Guinness World Record entry. Carter is best known as a former teammate of jazz greats Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and the recently deceased Wayne Shorter. He won three Grammys. He will come to the metropolis with the Foursight quartet, where pianist Renee Rosnes, saxophonist Jimmy Greene and drummer Payton Crossley will also perform. “It will be intelligent, complex jazz performed by masters of the genre,” promises Marek Vrabec.
After four years, the leading American string quartet Jack Quartet will return to the festival to present a program in honor of New York independent music figure John Zorn. He will celebrate his seventieth birthday in September. The concert will take place on November 6 at La Fabrice.
Angélique Kidjo will present her own take on the famous Talking Heads album. | Photo: Sofia and Mauro
A day later, Prague Sounds will move to Fora Karlín, where African singer Angélique Kidjo will present her own interpretation of the famous Talking Heads album Remain in Light, released in 1980. “David Byrne and producer Brian Eno were significantly inspired by African polyrhythms at the time. And she those rhythms enchanted her so much that she decided to record the whole album again in her own way. Her performance is extremely refreshing,” says the festival director.
This will be followed by an evening at the Trade Fair Palace, where on November 8 the German electronic music and visual art pioneer Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto will join forces with the leading European contemporary music group Ensemble Modern, founded in 1980. important galleries, his works could be seen in London’s Tate Modern or New York’s Guggenheim Museum. In our program this year, it will be the closest to ambient music,” mentions Marek Vrabec.
Canadian violinist and singer Owen Pallett, who helps himself by looping, prepared a solo show for November 14 at Dox in Prague.
For the first time, Prague Sounds will head to Camp, i.e. the Prague Center for Architecture and Urban Planning, where on November 16, the personality of electronic music, forty-year-old Englishman Nathan Fake, will present himself. “He is an example of an artist who can perform at festivals for thousands of people in the field, but here you will experience him up close, in the intimacy of a small hall with an extraordinary canvas,” the director mentions.
On Friday, November 17, the rising star of the British hip-hop scene, Kofi Stone, will arrive. The following day, the festival will end with the program of the Czech participant, the band Bert & Friends, called Klasirdo.
In recent years, the festival has also organized evenings on a floating stage on the surface of the Vltava, including last year’s Concert for Europe, where the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Philharmonic Choir and soloists performed under the leadership of chief conductor Semjon Byčkov. This year too, the organizers are preparing an event in a non-traditional setting for September, but they will announce more detailed information.
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