Můžeme hrát spolu
A project of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA ČR) 2018–2020
We Can Play Together: Taking advantage of the homogenizing social potential of collective musical performance
Contemporary Czech society can be characterized on the one hand as fragmented, and on the other hand as one of the most xenophobic in Europe. Our project takes advantage of the homogenizing social potential provided by the collective performance of music, enriched by the aspect of interpersonal communication. It targets two main groups: teenagers (pupils of upper primary school or students in secondary school) for whom music is the most attractive medium of all, and students of musical education at Charles University’s Faculty of Education, who will be influencing the former group with the aid of music once they begin teaching. A third, minority group of participants are those who have long been living in the Czech Republic but who continue to be viewed by the majority population as “others”: Romani people and foreign nationals settled in the Czech Republic.
The aim of the project is to create a model for workshops in which, while making music, pupils from Czech schools and amateur musicians from “different cultures” come into contact.
Husam Abed is a musician and puppeteer who lives between Amman, Jordan and Prague. He is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU). He is the founder of the Dafa Puppet Theater (Czech Republic/Jordan), a co-founder of the Flying Freedom festival (Czech Republic), and a co-founder of the Hazaart company, which combines community work and theater (Czech Republic).
Jan Dužda is from a family of musicians in Rokycany: His father performed with Věra Bílá in the band Kale and his sisters were also singers. Jan plays in the ensemble Le čhavendar, which is developing this Rokycany tradition; he also collaborated for quite some time with Ida Kellarová. He is a Romani Studies graduate from Charles University’s Faculty of Arts. He says of himself that “education, esteem and family are both his priority and his life philosophy.”
Boro Prelić was born in the small village of Padej in northern Serbia. He graduated from the Civil Engineering Faculty and spent part of his life in Belgrade, where he was influenced by the rich musical life there. During his studies he began making a living by performing music in bars. After he established his family the war broke out, so Boro ended up with them in Prague, hoping for a better life here. Currently he is a professional musician.
Sonam is from Tibet. At the age of two he moved to Nepal, and between the ages of 6 and 19 he lived in a Tibetan monastery in India. He learned to play traditional monastic musical instruments there, as well as monastic singing. He now lives and works in Prague.
Students of the Faculty of Humanities met members of the emphatically musical Fečo family, who are Romani, at the Collegium. The inspiration was the music of the bandleader and composer Jožka Fečo (1940–2013); his daughter, Ms Ludmila Fečová, along with her children Liduška and Jozífek, and her niece, Lenička, spoke about the broader cultural context of the family’s work and led the etnomusical seminar.
Bolor Nandim is from Mongolia. He plays the morin-khuur (Mongolian violin), a traditional musical instrument. He is the bandmaster of the musical group Dunzhingarav, which has been performing and playing in Europe for quite some time.
Papis Nyass is from Gambia in northern Africa. He has lived in the Czech Republic since 1996. He works for the Africa House (Africký dům) company. He instructs and performs dance and West African rhythms. He also does African bodyshaping, body percussion, and rhythm therapy. He lives in Prague with his family.
Mário Bihári is a visually impaired Roman musician born in Slovakia who has established himself in Bohemia, where he graduated from the Conservatory of Jan Deyl. Zuzana Navarová drew broader attention to him when he composed numbers for her band KOA. He demonstrates his multi-genre ability by playing with different performers; Bachtale Apsa and Gadjo.cz are those that most demonstrate Romani influences.
Aida Mujačić was born in the Bosnian town of Tuzla. In Bosnia she studied piano and singing. She came to Prague in 2008 to study Musicology at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts. Currently she focuses on ethnomusicology (Balkan folk music, above all Bosnian sevdah). She performs in the bands Korjen and Fes and in solo projects, teaching piano and singing at an Elementary Art School.
Ioannis Kapnistis is from Corinth, Greece, where he studied guitar and performed in an ensemble with a repertoire of traditional Greek music. In Prague he then graduated in musical education from Charles University’s Faculty of Education. Currently he is performing in the Boro Balkan Band, Džezvica, DUO Boro and Janis and performs in solo projects as part of the Greek community. On occasion he also composes music for theatrical projects.