The original music of the ancient Celts, which, paradoxically, with the “Celtic” music related only marginally, however, we know almost nothing … Vojtěch Jindra
The whole of Czech Republic is alive with folk music. Emerging from this place are the three folk bands, Taliesyn(more into folk and not really Celtic), Irish Dew( in which he left in 2006 due to musical differences)and Bran. They all have or had at one time one person in common- Vojtěch Jindra(pronounced as Woy-tesh Yin-dra) His current project Bran (also means raven in Breton) have been earning followers and positive reviews from all over festival as well as websites. My introduction to them was through a youtube post by a friend several months ago. From then on I keep hearing them through posts by Celtic music enthusiasts-mostly my network friends. This network ‘cloud’ of like-minded people also determines the kind of musical current that exists these days. It is good to have them around because they are responsible in tweeting, posting as well as blogging about the trend in the musical culture that I subscribe to. I know I am part of that cloud and it is good to be in this age where sharing is easy. I did a bit of researched and was finally able to find Vojtěch and made a schedule to include this interview between his tours.
A graduate from the Faculty of Arts at the Charles University (Czech Language), he joined Bran in 2006 and is also the composer of several songs for all the bands he is working with. He has a website www.keltskahudba.cz, where he links all of his musical connections. He also started his own label to promote independent folk music. He is with us today to talk about his work with the band Bran.
Bran brings Breton and Czech musicians together. If Bran means in Breton, the raven, which in Celtic legends is the messenger bird, then he has brought the music of Brittany to Central Europe and a little wind from the East to Brittany The musical instruments used and the diverse influences and origins of each musician create, give, put, bring together the particular colorfulness which makes Bran original. Oriented towards dance and songs of the sea Bran offers a rich and varied repertoire made up both of the compositions its members and traditional Breton tunes.
Robert Fischmann-vocals, flute;
Vojtěch Jindra-ak. guitar,
Tomáš Görtler-accordion, vocals;
Michal Wróblewski-saxophones, clarinet;
Petr Tichý-double bass;
Jan Chalupa-drums, percussion
Your album discography is available through your website and fans can listen to the tracks off the album In Concert(2010). I have to admit I find your band’s version of Tri Martolod quite refreshing. I hear elements of Jazz and also that distinctive Breton sound. I am confused…your band is based in Prague but in your concerts you speak in French. Are you aiming more in the French/Breton crowd rather than your native Czech?
Both I think. Our ex-leader Dewi Pajot came from Brittany, so he spoke in French. But yes – we are Czechs and we are based in Prague, Czech Republic.
You are the band guitarist and percussionist. You also manage the overall direction of the music. Do you find it at times exhausting to do a lot of creative and well as corporate stuff?
It can be a challenging as well as exhausting thing… there are so many things to do in terms of the overall direction of the music, how things are looking up or sounding like during tours, the business aspect … But I love it, it’s my life.
Five albums in a span of 12 years! What memorable things happened to the members in this span of time and also to you?
Many good and bad things in our personal as well as working life… One of the highlights of our career I think was when we played as supporting band for Alan Stivell during his concert. And we had to survive departure of our founder and friend Dewi Pajot. There were so many memorable moments, the jams and the beautiful melodies we created together…
Describe the Bran ‘sound’.
I have a problem describing it even in my native Czech. I don’t know – maybe natural acoustic sound with a kick. Simply – combination of voice, acoustic guitar, accordion, saxophone, flute, double bass and drum set. It’s eclectic but at the same town distinctive since it reflects the musical background we have.
You wrote an interesting piece about the Celts and Celtic music in your own site. I found that everyone has his or her own opinion as to what the ‘Celtic’ sound is…has it been easier to market your music in your country rather than say in Ireland and the rest of the Celtic nations?
It’s easier I think. A lot of people in the Czech Republic are open to this kind of music. But I am not enthusiastic about this label – Celtic music. Who knows really what ancient Celts played?
I noticed you have an eclectic taste and that includes listening to Depeche Mode and other music. I noticed that most musicians in this genre are more open minded and well exposed to different types of music compared to mainstream listener..Thoughts on this?
It’s true. For example, our bassist Petr Tichý began playing as a fan of metal, but now he’s a leading jazz musician in his generation in Prague. We are open- minded about music. An yes…eclectic.
Your schedule is picking up speed as this month is more about live performance. What are the things that remain constant when you and your band go on tour?
I am not really sure . When we’re on tour, exhaustion can happen but it is the music that drives us. When we play, we are not aware of how tired we are, we just know that we love what we are doing and also love the fact that the listeners respond to what we play. When we are home after touring, we don’t really indulge in vices.
To know about the band’s latest schedule check out http://www.branband.cz/ The website is in Czech but google can translate that for you but if you don’t have google, you can always use http://www.microsofttranslator.com/