Czech star of Once receives Grammy nomination for movie soundtrack

The film Once was made on a budget of 160,000 USD and has been one of the surprise hits of 2007. In America alone, it has taken over 10 million dollars at the box-office. The tale of an Irish busker and the relationship he forges with a Czech immigrant in Dublin has won critical acclaim – and now a couple of Grammy nominations as well for its soundtrack. Marketa Irglova, the Czech female lead who composed some of the songs, stands the chance of becoming the nation’s first ever pop musician to win such a prestigious award.

The success that Once has enjoyed since its release last spring has exceeded everyone’s expectations, not least those of the film’s two main stars, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Speaking to Radio Prague last month, Marketa, who is just 19, reflected upon the film’s success:

“Ultimately our biggest pride, and the biggest enjoyment we are getting out of the situation, is that all of these people who are going to see the film are hearing our music. Our music is suddenly being exposed to a whole different audience which probably never would have discovered us otherwise. That’s amazing. And the idea that we can now go and play in venues which seat more than 200 people, and that those venues are going to be full of people that know the music and appreciate it. That’s amazing.”

And they could end up playing even bigger venues, if they do well in the US Grammy music awards. Irglova and Hansard have just been nominated for two awards: best soundtrack and best song for Falling Slowly.

Marek Irgl is Marketa’s father. I called him today in the family’s home town of Valasske Mezirici, to ask whether he had been in contact with his daughter since the news broke:

“I spoke to her, because I found this information about the Grammys on the web. So I spoke to her by telephone, and I congratulated her and Glen also.”

And how was she feeling? Was she thrilled about it?

“You know, Marketa is really a very introverted person, and what you see in the movie is really a part of her also. She never jumps if anything happens. But she was very happy, in her way, she was very happy. Sure, who wouldn’t be?”

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova,  photo: CTK
When Marketa spoke to Radio Prague last month she said the film had been great because it had meant that lots of new people had been introduced to this music. Do you think that this Grammy nomination will mean that even more people become aware of the work that she and Glen are doing?

“Absolutely, that’s why all of these nominations and awards exist. They are a form of promotion. I think that any kind of award doesn’t vouch absolutely for the quality of a work. Because how can you measure what the best song or best work of art generally is? It’s not a sport, you can’t measure seconds or metres or anything. So every award is just a gathering of the best of the best of the year.

“It’s just an award, it’s just the opinion of some group of people. But definitely it will help, because people love prizes and awards, and they will follow them. The effect is always that new people are brought to the movie or to the music.”

The Grammys will take place next February in Los Angeles, and it’s likely that there will be lots of Czechs crossing their fingers in the run up to the awards.