Beer barrel polka - Czech hit of the century


Rosamunde Škoda lásky Beer barrel polka - Czech hit of the century

Lustige Musikanten in Prag aus dem jahre 1989. Marianne und Michael singen den Böhmischen Klassiker Rosamunde.
Polka Škoda lásky.

Marky byly tvrdá měna, kdo to pamatujete a tak se prodalo vše i česká polka Škoda lásky. Ovšem patří všem co bojovali ve 2. světové válce za svobodu.

I hope you will not be cross with me if I speak only about one of the seventeen songs, namely the Czech hit of the century. At the end of our century, the listeners of Český rozhlas (The Czech Radio) have awarded this title to Jaromír Vejvoda’s song "Škoda lásky" (Wasted Love). You may say that polls mean nothing but "Škoda lásky" has been awarded The Hit of The Century in the Czech Republic quite rightly.
"Škoda lásky" has an interesting history. It originated in 1927 but then its name was "Modřanská polka" (Modřany Polka) and it was played without lyrics. These were added by Vašek Zeman only seven years later, in 1934. The polka set off on its journey to the world soon, and in 1938, under the name of "Rosamunde", it brought a Gold Album to Will Glahé for one million sold copies, and one year later it was published by Shapiro Bernstein under the name of "Beer Barrel Polka". In the same year, the famous Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller Orchestra and many others (among them for instance Benny Goodman or Billie Holiday) included it in their repertoire. It has been played by an African pianist, it has been sung by country or rock stars. It has even been recorded as a waltz!
Its greatest success was that it was accompanying the Ally armies on their march through Western Europe at the end of World War Two. Reportedly, General Eisenhower claimed that "Škoda lásky" helped to win the war. It is played all over Europe, it is well known in the United States and Japan. There are almost thirty language versions of it. The ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Hans Genscher made even a bet that it was a German song. There was a post stamp issued in the United States commemorating the song’s sixtieth (and the author’s eighty-fifth) birthday and the ex-President Bush made the song with a photograph of its author a part of his presidential library. In 1995, it was waking up the astronauts on the space shuttle "Discovery". I would say then that "Škoda lásky" is not only Czech but perhaps the world hit of the century. I do not know of any other song that would be so famous.
In two years’ time we will be celebrating one hundred years since the birth of the author, Jaromír Vejvoda. He was born at the beginning of the twentieth century, on 28 March 1902 (the French sculptor Rodin visited Prague in the same year). His father had four brothers (all of them were musicians) and he himself had five brothers and sisters (apart from himself, his brother Václav was also a musician). In 1926 he took over his father’s band at Zbraslav and the first song he wrote for his own band was the mentioned "Modoanská polka". He had the band till 1948 when the totalitarian regime came to power in Czechoslovakia and the profession of a band leader was not licensed anymore, which forced him to disband the band - after twenty-two years. He started working in a warehouse of a factory. His former band operated then under the town of Zbraslav, while using the name "Zbraslavanka". Jaromír Vejvoda occasionally conducted it as a guest. He died one year before the Velvet Revolution, on 13 November 1988, and is buried in a family vault in Zbraslav.
Jaromír Vejvoda’s family line continues in his three sons (Jaromír, Jioí and Josef) who take good care of his musical legacy. Thanks to them there is, for example, a permanent exhibition about the life and work of Jaromír Vejvoda in the "Škoda lásky" restaurant on the main square in Zbraslav where the famous polka was composed. They also founded an international festival of small brass bands "Vejvodova Zbraslav" (Vejvoda’s Zbraslav).
Moreover, Josef Vejvoda continues also in his father’s tradition as a composer and band leader of "Vejvodova kapela" (Vejvoda’s Band) and "Salonní orchestr Josefa Vejvody" (Josef Vejvoda Parlour Orchestra). It is interesting that Josef Vejvoda had not dared to write any polka or waltz until his father’s death. He composed his first polka ("Kvituška") only in 1995 and dedicated it to his wife Kvituška, and shortly after he composed also his first waltz "Kam se mládí ztrácí" (Where Does the Youth Get Lost). The lyrics for the waltz and other compositions were written by the same lyricist who had been writing for his father - Ladislav Jacura. And if also Josef Vejvoda’s daughter Monika, who is currently studying composition at AMU (the music academy), dares to compose some polkas, three generations of Vejvodas will be connected then through a single lyricist. And maybe a hit will originate, one of the century which is now dawning. Autor Ivan Rössler

Tak dlouho jsem vybíral, až se mi nejvíc líbila trubka. Dobře se poslouchá i akordeon...

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