1940 – 23rd Segment: “Hm, hm”

Foto: Archiv Popmuseum

In this series we present 100 songs which have gone down in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. They became widely popular, were played during important time periods, and some even won the hit parade of the year. Today we introduce the year 1940.

Arnošt Kavka (in the middle), photo: archive of Popmuseum
During the Nazi occupation, people did not feel very inclined to sing. On the other hand, singing oftentimes becomes a symbol when society is presented with adversity. Jazz and swing music (the newest style) became symbolic of a call for domestic independence – especially among the student circles. Their generation gave rise to competent professionals who came to permanently embody the Jazz inspired music of the period. One of these individuals was a law student named Arnošt Kavka. He became a jazz singer after the forced shut down of all Czech universities in November, 1939.

This attractive young man became an idol for many girls, especially in the year 1940 when the foxtrot, “Hm, hm, oh you are sensational” by pianist Leopold Korbař from Vlacha’s Orchestra, was added to Kavka’s repertoire. It seemed that no girl’s heart could resist him. The Allan sister trio also joined Kavka - in addition to Vlacha’s Orchestra. The public was not interested in them being sisters as much as they were interested in their superb singing talents, their promotion of Czech songwriters and their long standing cooperation with Vlachov’s Orchestra. Today, with their assistance, we will have a listen to Korbař’s foxtrot. After 1940, Korbař became a big hit in Czech dance music and his work was popular in many other European countries – even in Nazi Germany during the war!