A documentary film about the spread of bluegrass music in the Czech Republic, Banjo Romantika, is set to air in December on many PBS television stations around the US. It will be broadcast starting tomorrow night (12/10) in North Carolina, and showing in West Virginia, Kentucky, East Tennessee, Chicago, Nashville, Denver, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and many other cities throughout this month and next.
The film is a collaborative project by Lee Bidgood and Shara Lange, both on the faculty at East Tennessee State University. It examines today’s thriving Czech bluegrass scene, whose origins date back to the time when the country was under the dominion of the Soviet Union, and western music of any kind was considered samizdat, and banned by the authorities. Now, the music has been accepted as a part of the folk and acoustic music culture in the country, more so than in most other European countries.
There are interviews and performances recorded both at ETSU and during a visit by the producers to the Czech Republic in 2011. You’ll see Luboš Malina and Robert Křest’an from Druha Trava, Marko Čermák from Greenhorns, Zdeněk Roh of Roll’s Boys and Roll’s Banjos, and Zbyněk Bureš of Reliéf.
You can find a schedule online indicating when Banjo Romantika will air on PBS. It should be very interesting viewing.