The 24th annual Respect Festival was moved to the end of August (28th and 29th) due to Spring Covid-regulations; traditionally, this two-day, open-air and family-friendly festival in Prague has kicked off the summer.
Inspired by Womad and Womex, Prague’s Respect Festival is devoted to first-rate World and eclectic folk music and a local community of tolerance and diversity.
Headlining on Saturday is Les Triaboliques; African groove, the Saharan blues, Latin American folk and the angular guitar sound of English post-punk or rock should not be a good mix, but this UK guitar trio does just that. Ben Mandelson played briefly with Magazine, then moved onto theatrical ethno-pop explorations inspired by the sounds of the Balkans and the Middle East.
Lu Edmonds played briefly with The Damned then joined forces with Mandelson. Justin Adams is the best known for playing with the former singer of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, and with Jah Wobble, the bassist of Public Image Ltd. Altogether this is a captivating World Blues by elder British gents: it is their take on the blues from another angle, generation, and vision.
Also on Saturday is Sushella Raman, a British-Indian vocalist influenced at her earliest age by South Indian Tamil culture, then Indian Carnatic music, but now she seems influenced by music of the world across genres: overall, Raman delivers a sophisticated contemporary ethno-pop.
On Sunday, Justin Adams returns as a duo with Mauro Durante, a violinist and percussionist (frame drums) from Salento in southern Italy, who is a master of Tarantella, a ritualistic trance music of that region. Headlining on Sunday is Besh O Drom, among the best known Gypsy-Balkan groups in Europe. This high-speed and upbeat group is originally from Budapest and they are influenced by traditional music across Europe and Eurasia, North Africa and the Middle East.
This year’s Respect Festival also includes two noteworthy or even novelty opening acts, both led by the prominent Czech visual artist František Skála.
On Saturday, Skála & Provodovjané open the festival playing “dechovka” a Czech brass-band polka specialty or typical village and beer hall music, but with more striking lyrics; and on Sunday, Skála’s Třaskavá směs plays folk-punk with operatic flair, apparently influenced by Tom Waits and Elvis; this group includes the visual artist Petr Nikl, with Petr Tichý, a noted classical and jazz bassist and others.
Skála recently had among the best exhibits this season in Old Town Square at the House of the Stone Bell including his book illustrations, and his earliest till newest series of paintings and array of wood sculptures.
For more information visit the Respect Festival’s website here.