Plastic People Helped Bring Freedom to Czechoslovakians (PP Pomohli Prinest Cechoslovakum Svobodu)

5 10 2008

Our October calendar lists all activities for Czechs and Slovaks around the world. One of them is a concert of a Czech band called Plastic People of the Universe (PPU). We have to admit, at the time we were preparing our calendar of events, we did not know the band or its contribution to the freedom of all Czech and Slovak citizens.

 

A couple of days ago we decided to find articles about the band and to watch their video clips. What we found was great music and a remarkable life story of their pride and resistance to the Czechoslovakian Communist party.

 

The band was formed by bassist Milan Hlavsa right after the Soviet invasion on August 21st, 1968 in attempts to stop the Prague Spring, a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia. The name was taken from Frank Zappa’s song entitled Plastic People. The same year Russians initiated a “normalization” program to reestablish moral and social behavior to make it more appropriate for a Communist country.

During this time, the Czech government started to censor the news and film industry and closed many rock clubs and bars in Prague. Some bands changed their music and strategy to survive during this tough time but PPU refused to change. They lost their professional license and instruments. This, however, did not stop them from doing what they loved. Soon they made their own instruments and equipment and played underground as amateurs.

 

And then the incredible story goes on and here is just a brief summary:

They were helped by a Canadian grad student, Paul Wilson to play under his license for a while. Then, many of their underground concerts were raided by secret police where many fans were injured, sent to jail, or expelled from schools. Their music was also smuggled across the west border and some PPU members were imprisoned for “organized disturbance of the peace.”

 

The band influenced their fans but also playwrights, writers, professors and other Czech intellectuals. One of the supporters was Vaclav Havel, an avant-garde playwright, who was very impressed with the bands philosophy and resistance to the Communist regime.  On January 1st, 1977, Havel released a statement of principles called Charter 77, which evolved into a human rights petition that landed Havel in jail.

 

The band’s complex story continues until the Velvet Revolution, which brought freedom to all Czechoslovak citizens. The whole revolution had lasted only 24 days and soon after Vaclav Havel became the President of Czechoslovakia.

 

After reading their story, Plastic People of the Universe, motivated us to read more about the Prague Spring era and people that contributed to our freedom. We strongly recommend you attend one of their upcoming concerts so you too can listen to their unique music and most importantly to their extraordinary life story.

 

***

 

Nas kalendar akci na rijen je plny aktivit pro Cechy a Slovaky na celem svete. Jednim z nich je koncert ceske skupiny jmenem Plastic People of the Universe (PPU). Musime se priznat, v dobe, kdy jsme tento kalendar akci pripravovali, neznali jsme tuto skupinu a uz vubec ne jeji prinos ke svobode vsech Ceskych a Slovenskych obcanu.

 

Pred par dny jsme se rozhodli vyhledat clanky o teto skupine a podivat s na jejich video klipy. Objevili jsme vybornou hudbu a pozoruhodny zivotni pribeh jejich hrdosti a vzdoru k ceskoslovenske komunisticke strane.

 

Skupina byla zalozena basistou Milanem Hlavsou hned po ruske invazi 21. srpna 1968, ktera chtela zabranit Prazskemu Jaru, ktera byla dobou politicke liberalizace v Ceskoslovensku. Jmeno bylo prevzato z pisne od Franka Zappa jmenem Plastic People. Ten samy rok Rusove zacali “normalizacni” program, ktery mel obnovit moralni a socialni chovani, ktere bylo vice vhodne pro komunistickou zemi.

 

Behem teto doby, ceska vlada zacala cenzurovat zpravy a filmovou tvorbu a zavrela v Praze mnoho rokovych klubu a baru. Nektere skupiny zmenily svou hudbu a strategii aby prezili tuto tezkou dobu, ale PPU odmitlo tuto zmenu. Skupina ztratila jejich profesionalni licenci a jejich nastroje. To ale je nezastavilo od delani toho, co milovali. Brzy si vyrobili jejich vlastni nastroje a zarizeni a hrali ilegalne jako amateri.

 

A pote jejich neuveritelny pribeh pokracuje a zde je jen strucne shrnuti:

Kanadsky student, Paul Wilson, jim pomohl po nejakou dobu hrat pod jeho licenci. Pote, mnoho jejich ilegalnich koncertu bylo zruseno tajnou policii, kde mnoho fanousku bylo zraneno, poslano do vezeni a nebo vyrazeno se skol. Jejich hudba byla take propasovana pres zapadni hranice a nekteri PPU clenove byli zavreni do vezeni pro “organizovane vyrusovani miru”.

 

Tato kapela take ovlivnila mnoho dramatiku, spisovatelu, profesoru a dalsich ceskych intelektualu. Jednim z podporovatelu byl avantgardni dramatik Vaclav Havel, ktery byl ohromen s filozofii kapely a jejich odporem ke komunistickemu rezimu. V roce 1977, 1. ledna, Havel vydal Chartu 77, ktera ze rozvinula do petice lidskych prav a obcanske svobody, ktera take privedla Havla do vezeni.

 

Tento komplexni pribeh skupiny pokracuje az do Sametove Revolude, ktera prinesla svobodu vsem cechoslovenskym obcanum. Cela revoluce trvala jen 24 dni a brzy potom se Vaclav Havel stal prezidentem Ceskoslovenska.

 

Po precteni pribehu skupiny Plastic People of the Universe jsme byli motivovani cist vice o obdobi Prazskeho Jara a lidech, kteri prispeli k nasi svobode. Velmi doporucujeme, abyste navstivili jejich koncerty abyste si take vyslechli jejich unikatni hudbu a hlavne jejich neuveritelny zivotni pribeh.

Sources (Zdroje)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_People_of_the_Universe

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=155406238

http://incentraleurope.radio.cz/pictures/muzikanti/plastic_people2.jpg

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