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Druha Trava: Progressive Bluegrass to the Highest Level

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The musical soul trespasses the geographical limits and the cultural and linguistic boundaries; music has the power to bring people together and that is the reason why Druha Trava has become one of the most famous bluegrass bands in Europe. Their name means “Second Grass” and they are from Czech Republic. They have been extremely influenced by bluegrass roots, considered to be part of the Appalachian heritage. Other people consider this band as a “new acoustic world music band with bluegrass influences.”

Druha Trava was consolidated in 1991 by five members who combine different influences, such as country, rock, folk, classical and jazz music. The guide singer and writer, Robert Krestan is one of the most important figures in the country and bluegrass scene. He explains his attraction to Western sounds and music grew up when, in 1982, he was inspired by Pete Seeger, who was on tour in their country and introduced an instrument still unknown by the citizens of Czech Republic: a five-string banjo. Therefore, those new sounds and instruments were valued and adapted to local circumstances.

Named as Band of the Year by the Czech Recording Industry during the Banjo Jamboree Festival celebrated in Strakonice, Druha Trava have become one of the most successful progressive bluegrass bands of the world; actually, they have sold thousands of copies of their five different albums. Their sixth album, called Czechmate, is the first record that they released in the United States.

Some Druha Trava’s former members have stayed up to the present; Lubos Malina was granted the honor of the Best Banjo Player, in the 1992 edition of the Banjo Jamboree Festival. Malina, together with Krestan, first participated in a group called Poutnici, which singles were also awarded as Best Non-American Recording of the Year.

Experienced dobro player, Lubos Novotny had the opportunity to play with Prudusky, another successful newgrass group. From 1992 to 1997, he was been named as Dobro player of the Year by the same Banjo Jamboree Festival named above. He has several solo recordings, such as Joy of the Sorrowful, Venku z travy, which means “Out from the Grass”

Petr Sury joined the band in 2002; he studied at the state Conservatory and JanacekMusicAcademy in Brno, Czech Republic; he plays the acoustic double bass. Another recent member is Emil Formanek; he has been with the band since 2004. He plays the guitar and the other members met him fifteen years ago; he actually has played the bass in Malina’s and Krestan’s solos.

If you are looking for new and foreign alternatives and shades in bluegrass music, this is the best band you can count on! Don’t forget it, check on the web sites and enjoy the magic of their music!

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