Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Thanks again to Lilly Pavlak for a report and photos from the packed-out concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of the great Czech band Monogram, at the Gong Theatre in Prague on 23 November. The band - Pavel Lžičař (bass, spokesman), Zdeněk Jahoda (mandolin, vocals), Jakub Racek (guitar, lead vocals), and Jarda Jahoda (banjo) - marked their long service by opening the show in costume as old men (above).
All the band are founder members except Pavel Lžičař (joined 2000), so they invited all their friends and also all the bass players from their first ten years. The first guest on stage was Zbynek Bures (above, centre), one of their former bass players and now the front man of Relief and also a banjo- and dobro-player and songwriter, whose songs were on the first Monogram CD, Monogram: Bluegrass music (1997).
The next guests (above), Tomas Cerny (saxophone) and Lada Sosna (percussion), performed the song 'Malibu' as on the second CD, Siesta (2000).
Everyone had fun with the 'Fast fingers' contest (above) for the former bass players, won by Pavel Peroutka (bassist from Relief), who also wrote a bass instrumental, 'Velbloudi: the tribute to Monogram bass players' which was played by four of them, who had their instruments with them (below).
The band's only CD sung in the Czech language, Cestou Odyssea (2004), included a song by the famous songwriter Petr Kus, who sang it with them on stage (above).
Pepa Malina (above, on fiddle) played the swing piece 'Lady be good', with Tomas Cerny on saxophone.
The second part of the concert included the showing of archive pictures and videos, an appearance by blues guitar player Jimmy Bozeman, and guest musicians from Rumania, who had been delayed in Hungary and brought a cymbalom on stage to perform a fast Rumanian folk-song, which was very well received. Monogram's lyrical song 'Nelly and John', from their last CD, Hit the road (2010), was intended to end the concert, but the encores eventually concluded with a Jimi Hendrix instrumental, 'Killing floor'. Finally Monogram invited everyone to the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver concert in Prague on 16 May 2011, when they will be opening for DL&Q.
Lilly went backstage after the show to try the band's birthday cake (above left) and be photographed with her 'adopted sons' (below). She hopes to be still alive for their 40th anniversary.