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.


  1. Is that guy playing a steel guitar?

  2. Hi, Devin,

    Indeed he is, and damn well, if you ask me. I mention that in the post. All the best.