Concert in Paris to mark Czech EU presidency

Emma Smetana and Jordan Haj

A host of events are taking place in the coming weeks to mark the Czech presidency of the EU council, both in Czechia and abroad. One of them is an open-air concert hosted by the Czech Centre Paris, due to take place in mid-September, featuring popular Czech musicians Emma Smetana and Jordan Haj.

Emma Smetana | Photo: TV Nova

Emma Smetana has been a household name in Czechia for some time already. The former TV anchor, journalist and a popular musician has recently released a new album with her partner, Jordan Haj.

They both represent the young generation of Czechs, who regard their freedom to work and live abroad as a matter of course. Smetana was born in Prague to Czech parents, but she spent part of her childhood in France and went on to study in Berlin and Paris. As a result, she has always identified as a European, she says:

“The question gets harder with time, I must say..Ten years ago I would have answered that I regard myself as a pure European. Since then, I have become a mother of two, who were both born in Prague, so I do feel more Czech than I did ten years ago.

Emma Smetana | Photo: Ondřej Tomšů,  Radio Prague International

“And speaking of our European ambitions, I would love for them to be as European as possible, which is why this trip to Paris is a dream come true. I used to work for the first Czech EU presidency 13 years ago, so I would have felt it was a waste if it didn’t also happen during this period of time.”

Smetana’s partner, singer and actor Jordan Haj was also born in Czechia, but spent part of his childhood in Israel:

“I remember growing up in the Middle East in my teenage years and feeling very European. When I came back at the age of 19, I was in shock at how east European Czechia seemed to be, so I didn’t feel very Czech back then.

“Today, I definitely feel European, but I also feel more Israeli than I did when I lived there. And I definitely feel like a part of this city.”

At the upcoming concert, due to take place at the Czech Centre Paris on September 16, the couple will mostly perform songs from their first joint album called By Now, released at the beginning of June, says Emma Smetana.

Czech Centre on Rue Bonaparte,  Paris | Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková,  Radio Prague International

“The concert will take place on September 16 at the Czech Centre Paris, on Rue Bonaparte, which is extremely symbolic, because that’s where Masaryk and Beneš used to meet before the foundation of Czechoslovakia.

“Given that this will be our first gig in Paris since we started doing music together, we’ll probably include some of the older tracks from my first solo album and from Jordan’s upcoming solo album as well, so it’s going to be a very long concert, I hope. We’ll be pushing it to the extreme!”

Author: Ruth Fraňková
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