Petr Ulrych and I talked about the sixties, but also about the current music scene, about which he has mixed feelings. “I feel too much imitated by foreign models and little originality. We often seem to be worldly,Says a well-known singer who is just getting ready for concert with the group Javory. What music does he play himself? Are the children following in his footsteps?
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How would you describe the beginnings of the Javory group?
Our beginnings took place a long time ago, even at a time when the word show business did not exist. We got into the public’s unconscious thanks to Swing by Mirka and Jiří Černý, which was a radio show where amateur shows were broadcast at the time. The couple chose released songs based on which ones they liked. At that time, we won this competition with the song Don’t Go to a Monastery, and that launched our musical career.
Which period of your career was the most fruitful and which, on the contrary?
In the 56 years we have played, I have had more successful and less successful periods in such a merciful fog. But I remember there was a big harvest of apricots in 1999 and a lot of mushrooms in 2005.
Do you have a dream that you would like to sing with on stage?
I have it very simple, because my dream partner is my beloved sister and I would hardly look for better. We feel the same, we sing the same, we just find ourselves on the same note.
How many songs do you have in your account and what is your BEST? Are you still composing?
I’m not at all an archive guy who counts the number of acts on my account, but I think there are definitely hundreds of these songs. There are a lot of songs that weren’t originally for the two of us with Hanka, and there are also a number of songs that were meant for a movie or a musical. And at the moment, about a year ago, I finished my musical work, an adaptation of a fairy tale film, for which I made music. We did a musical about O brave blacksmith and the staff of the Municipal Theater in Brno. And I feel very good in this job.
Are the children following in your footsteps?
I have three daughters and a son. I didn’t push any of them into music or show business. They do ordinary jobs and I think they make me and those around me happy.
Do you argue with Hanka as administrative siblings? For what and who usually backs down?
Yes of course. And the older we get, the more quarrels are denied and ridiculous, but we argue mostly over bickering. Especially here I have to pour ashes on my head, because I am already such a clumsy pensioner and it is difficult for me in this regard. And so I apologize to my sister and my entourage.
What fulfills you in your personal life?
I think we are doing as well as most regular, everyday people. This life is about effort, sweat on your face and often pain, but then it is about working from the pride that people have at birth into what is called humility. What fills me and Hanka, for example, is nature and music, but also a lot of ordinary, completely human activities that enrich people. And the best part is when you do the work for yourself, but also for everyone.
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And how do you see the current Czech music scene? Who do you like to listen to?
I like to listen to Buty a lot, for example, I like you a lot. I like Ivan Mládek and I like some of the older singers, like Waldemar Matuška from his early period. He sang natural and beautiful songs. And as for the current scene, I have mixed feelings about it, because we often look worldly. I feel too much imitated by foreign models and little originality. It bothers me in the media that what we hear is such a slice. I call it the Anglo-American music monoculture. We are completely impoverished by what is playing out in other states.
How are you looking forward to the concert, which will take place on April 21 at the Broadway Theatre?
In our time, every performance is such a party. We thank the Lord God for giving us these gifts where we can transmit a piece of ourselves to those who come to listen to us. It’s nice to feel the public agree with us. We always try to convey the best and the most beautiful of our songs to the public.
Are you already thinking about how to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Javory group?
Well, if we work there in good health… I’m not sure what it will look like in four years, because after all, you’ve gone a little over the limit. But if we can, we will play and sing. We will celebrate it with a concert, of course. And we are looking forward to it!