Can’t you tell? We are in “Jamaica in the Czech Republic aka Real Beat 2009 in Ziznikov!
What other hints do we have….
I know, that just because someone is white, in central europe, and has dreads does NOT mean that they are into reggae…but the odds are pretty high. As I later found out, many choose to adopt a dread hair style to demonstrate their rebellion and dissatisfaction with the current state of their society.
and of course, a place where they sell jamaica and rasta themed accessories including hats and towels.
When most people see punks they do not always think of reggae. Here in the CZ reggae and ska scene you can see a broad mix of people. So this dude wasn’t so out of place, but blended right into the alternative crowd.
The audience was comprised of mostly young people but there were some families there as well as some older folks. It also seemed pretty evenly split between genders. However, the multicultural theme here did not match the actual crowd. In other words, despite the cajovna (tea houses) where one can sip on exotic teas from the far east, india and nothern africa, and shops with african dresses and accessories, the people here were homogenously white and czech. This does not completely reflect the reality of the country as it contains Roma and Vietnamese citizens…. I guess they exercise a selective multiculturalism (everyone does) and it is not about who is there but who isn’t. After the Big Fall in ’89 people were living in a state of uncertainty and experimentation. The walls suddenly fell and the world flooded in. For once, in a long time, Czechs had the world at their fingertips and could explore foreign and ‘exotic’ places and people. I think that is partially why multiculturalism tends to include Black cultures instead of Roma.
But how far does this ‘multicultural’ outlook extend? I think that currently this is a still xenophobic and reserved country. At the moment, it is comfortable for some to choose among teas from Japan and frequent music clubs featuring Caribbean and African music, but many are not yet ready for actual exposure. By ‘actual exposure’ I am alluding to constant, present multicultural (non-white or European) contact. But the CZ will have to get ready, the world is globalizing, borders are disintegrating and in 20 years the CZ will not look the way it does today…. DUN DUN DUNNNN
hahaha. But really, back to the concert:
Lukas Kollibal, one of CZ reggae’s main promoter’s hooked me up with a backstage pass! Woot, V.I.P. This privilege enabled me to mingle with artists backstage and get some quick interviews!
It was really fun to watch artists express themselves on stage and then have a chance to talk to them in person and understand their work a little better.
And this is the reggae artist I interviewed back when I was just studying abroad here, Mr. Cocoman:
Carmen and Djei who are a part of United Flavor were also there, they openned for none other than Buju Banton! But just before that we were tantalized by a teaser!
If Czechs are able to introduce, reggae, dub, ska and dancehall why not the latest dance hall steps and styles? As you can see the girl in the middle is really feeling the music! And she wasn’t the only one, the best thing about Czechs is that they love music and are pretty open minded about trying new genres. For example, even though this is a small country of only 10 million people they have about 3 major reggae festivals per year, that’s huge in comparison to large countries with more developed scenes who don’t even have one!
Here are some clips of Czechs enjoying themselves:
And it lasted well into the night, finally Buju Banton hit the stage with a burst of energy that reverberated throughout the sleepy Czech town. He sang of Jah, of politics, about women and ganja, it could be said that the man covered it all!
Later in the night, we were lucky enough to interview Buju! He said that he loved playing here, (it was his first time) and he is interested in exposing Czechs to more reggae and dance hall music over time. In other words, his concert here is not identical to the type of concert he would have played back in Jamaica. Banton acknowledges that Czechs are not completely exposed and accostumed to this type of music and must be eased into it…slowly but surely. Fair assesment.
Overall it was a great night with a lot of new and exciting experiences. I have never had a backstage pass before (never to anything official) and I have never intervied a music star! This was definitely an eye opening and worthwhile experience.