Friday, March 7, 2008
Getting the Blues on the Charles Bridge
You're liable to hear all sorts of music as you stroll across Prague's famous 650-year-old Charles Bridge, perhaps the city's most famous landmark.
There's a band of older guys who've been around forever who play some sort of weird Dixieland music, with the lead singer singing hoarsely through a giant megaphone. There's another guy who plays a zither. You can usually find someone strumming away on a guitar, singing Beatles tunes.
Crossing the bridge recently as I ran some errands, I heard something I'd never heard on the bridge before. The blues. Really good blues.
There was one guy thumping an upright bass, someone else playing a steel resonator guitar with a slide, and another guy playing the harmonica and singing through the horn ripped from an old gramophone.
A small crowd had gathered to listen -- too small, based on how talented these guys were.
A small sign in front of the singer just said "Matej Ptaszek, gramophone vocal, harp."
A quick search on Google reveals these guys do perform regularly and have recorded. Ptaszek is Czech, and what I found on Google has him performing with a Slovak guitarist named Lubos Bena, but I swear the guy in the video I'm posting here isn't Bena, based on the pictures on the web, but another talented guitarist. The guy I saw play is much younger. He's really good.
Anyway, I thought these guys were great and I wanted to share a snippet.