Prague Sounds – A Festival for Music across Genres

After 25 years, the prestigious Strings of Autumn Festival in Prague has renamed itself to Prague Sounds, yet in its newest form, it is still a festival without limits to genre. Only from now, it won’t be limited to only one season of the year. 

Prague Sounds The Festival in 2022 kicks off on October 23 with Snarky Puppy, a jubilant jazz-fusion big-band originally from Denton, Texas. They are a multicultural phenomenon also influenced by gospel and rhythm & blues; they’ve just won a Grammy (2021) for “Live at Royal Albert Hall” for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. On Sunday the 23rd, they’ll be at Lucerna Grand Ballroom.

Other outstanding artist-musicians invited to Prague Sounds which runs till November 24th include Chris Thile, the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, the all-star Redman/Mehldau/McBride/Blade jazz quartet, Makaya McCraven, Laura Mvula, and Nils Frahm.

Chris Thile is an American mandolin virtuoso from The Punch Brothers. He will be performing a solo recital of acoustic music from Bach to bluegrass and the blues at La Fabrika on Monday, Oct. 24th.

The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble from Berlin are an acoustic-classical trio or troupe of musicians recreating without electronics the deep house and minimalist techno music they have grown up with. Visually, they recall the futuristic German group Kraftwerk for their stiff postures, but BBF pushes beyond that comparison, since they are more inspired by minimalist and avant-garde composers, like Steve Reich and John Cage. BBF are playing Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Dox Centre for Contemporary Art.

Redman, Meldau, McBride, Blade are promising a “Mood Swing Reunion.” These are top jazzmen, all leaders of top-notch groups in their own right and such super-groups are a rare occasion in this town. It’s Joshua Redman on saxophone, Brad Meldau on piano and keyboard, Christian McBride on bass, and Brian Blade on drums, Wednesday, Nov. 2nd at Lucerna Grand Ballroom. 

Makaya McCraven is a jazz drummer extraordinaire nicknamed the “beat scientist” for his finesse and innovative use of electronics. He brings together jazz, hip-hop and clever experimentation, and his newest album is a tribute to the Blue Note Records label with updated versions of rare groove tracks. His previous project was similarly a tribute to forgotten heroes; in this case it was the jazz vocalist and political poet Gil Scott Heron. McCraven will be with his group on Sunday, Nov. 13th at La Fabrika.

Laura Mvula is a British soul and R&B singer who has been called the Nina Simone of our era. Previously she has performed with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra for the Strings of Autumn Festival, and this time she will be bringing her style of urban pop to the Roxy on Wednesday, Nov. 16th.

Then there’s a concert for a Czech jazz legend as the centerpiece of the festival. This one is a very special 80th birthday concert for the flutist Jiří Stivín, who has made considerable jazz recordings since the 1970s. Stivín is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist, who has had a profound influence on the Czech culture. His concert and “birthday party” will be on Saturday, Nov. 19th at the Rudolfinum.

Prague Sounds closes with Nils Frahm on Thursday Nov. 24th at Forum Karlin. Frahm is a German electronic artist and neo-classical composer, who is quintessential to the philosophy of The Festival: artists taking daring approaches with the newest technology or unique instrumentation for their music (with no restrictions to their genre) while ultimately performing concerts with a wider popular appeal.

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