Dissident music during the Cummunist era.

Discussion in 'Culture' started by punkrain, May 2, 2004.

  1. punkrain

    punkrain New Member

    Hi, I'm a student studying Czech in the US, Wisconsin to be exact. We are doing culture projects for the end of the year. I chose to do mine on the role that music played to bring down Communism, or at least shake it up a bit.

    I have a lot of information on The Plastic People of the Universe, but not much else. I was wondering if there were any other bands that had a similar role or were part of the same type of role. If anyone could give me any leads, your help would be much appreciated. Thanks,
  2. punkrain

    punkrain New Member

    Can no one help me? Just names of bands even?

  3. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    There were some singer/songwriters who were against the regime and were banned during Communism. Such as Karel Kryl, Jaroslav Hutka, Jaromír Nohavica and others. You can find their websites on our Czech Links - Arts & Entertainment - Czech Music page.

    I wouldn't say these singers played a big role in bringing down Communism. Their music was banned and was very much underground, so their audience was limited. They did reinforce the regime change immediately after the fall of Communism though when they were finally able to come out and sing publicly.
  4. music

    music Member

    There's a whole other angle to the dissident music question. I'm probably too late for your paper, but studies are on-going, eh?

    In Soviet classical music, according to some very interesting papers I've read, there were codes written in the music they composed which would only make sense to other high level music students and composers. There would be a theme for Stalin, a theme for Lenin, a theme for the Hungarian Revolution, and a theme for Czech oppression. (The fat-cats up in Moscow didn't have a clue:])

    I fully agree with Dana that this, the underground hard rock movement, or any other musical messages didn't do much to solve the problems. What they did do, and will always do, is help people deal with those problems.
  5. Jirka

    Jirka Well-Known Member

    Hi Punkrain,

    sorry for belatedness of my response. Well, my input may not be very helpful anyway.

    I was born in 1959 in a Czech provincial city of 100,000. I only learnt about Karel Kryl when I was 20 and I can imagine a lot of Czech people hadn't known him at all, or Vaclav Havel or all those many other Czech dissidents. I didn't learn about the other dissident musicians until the early 1990s. Karel Kryl remains the most distinct a character of all these to me. You can't help admiring the lyrics of his songs.

    I did know the Plastic People (of the Universe) as they were publicly stigmatized by the communist government. They were even shown in a TV documentary. True, what you could see there wasn't really very good music and I've never been sure how much that was real and how much it was just distorted propaganda. There was another similar band, as far as I remember, called Dg.307. The letters Dg. stood for the word 'diagnosis' and the entire abbreviation was used by doctors. This one meant some sort of psychiatric condition. This rather decandent show-off was, I believe, an expression of opposition against the regime, not very different from nonconformity shown by all kinds of rock bands worldwide as an expression of opposition against whatever. I don't think I've ever heard any of their music and neither did I hear more of Plastic People's music than that in the documentary I mentioned above. I see now that you can find more, better information on the Web.

    As a matter of fact, my generation listened to a lot of western rock music when we were kids. There was a black market with records and we would try to pick up Radio Luxemburg. The station broadcasted on medium wave band and for most people it was only possible to tune to it after sunset. A classmate of mine and I listened to his pocket radio set outside his or my house when we were about 15, and the reception was rather bad, full of noise and it kept fading in and out all the time. There were also surprisingly many discos with all kinds of music from the West. The wildest ones were in villages where it must have been harder for the commies to have things under control.

    That's it from me...


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