Banjo Romantika: Bluegrass in the Czech Republic

Culture & Identity  •  Grants

Birthplace of Country Music Museum

520 Birthplace of Country Music Way, Bristol, VA
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As part of the William King Museum of Art’s public speaker series, a screening of the documentary film, Banjo Romantika: Bluegrass in the Czech Republic, will be held at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The documentary details the surprising history of bluegrass music in the Czech Republic. A discussion is scheduled to follow featuring the film’s director, Shara K. Lange.

During World War II, the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music, including bluegrass, for soldiers, allowing Czechs to hear the unique sound for the first time. Under Soviet rule, the music came to symbolize freedom to disaffected Czechs. Today, Czech musicians have developed their own hybrid music, inspired by classic American bluegrass sounds. Within the formerly communist state, an assortment of performers have melded the past, the political, and the present into a lively musical tradition entirely its own.

The filmmaker, Lange, completed her MFA in film production at the University of Texas at Austin’s Radio/TV/Film department. Her thesis film, The Way North (Student Academy Award Regional Semi-Finalist) tells the story of North African immigrant women in southern France. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to make the documentary, The Dressmakers, about women artisans in Morocco. She has worked various film projects including Habitat Media’s, Empty Oceans, Empty Nets and Steven Okazaki’s, Rehab.

This lecture is funded is funded in part by a grant from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

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