1933 – 16th segment: Camper, Start That Blaze! (Táboráku, plápolejte!)

Photo: Deutsche Fotothek, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

In this series we introduce 100 songs that have gone down in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Vote in the big poll of the 100 Hits of the Republic and pick the greatest hit today. We continue with the year 1933.


Gustav Machatý’s film Ecstasy premiered on January 20th.

On January 30th, Reich President Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Reich Chancellor.

Emil František Burian founded and led the left-wing theater D34.

The year 1933 brings to mind many well-known camping songs. At the very beginning, amateur authors (described as tramp bards) composed their songs only for the specific needs of their own settlements, without any hidden professional or financial aspirations. Vocal groups also began to emerge in the camping settlements, singing new songs in polyphony with guitar accompaniment and sometimes even with a mandolin.

Photo: Deutsche Fotothek, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE
In the 1930’s and later years tramp songs became increasingly popular and even fashionable in a sense. This was enhanced by their appearance on gramophone records, radio programs and live singing not only around campfires in the summer and autumn but at various indoor winter gatherings in and outside of Prague. This sudden surge in popularity is one of the reasons why more well-known composers of the time turned their sights to producing tramp music.

One such composer was Karel Vacek. As a hard-working professional musician, he did not devote much time to tramping, but he managed to connect with the tramp mentality surprisingly well. His songs caught on and many of them became evergreens in the tramping repertoire, despite the fact that true tramps were very protective and possessive of their own personal repertoires.