Jan Burian has a new CD out

Jan Burian, photo CTK

For over 20 years Jan Burian - with his songs, travelogues and TV and radio programmes - has become a kind of special phenomenon on the Czech cultural scene. On Thursday, his new CD was launched on the occasion of his 50th birthday, which is later this month. Alena Skodova attended the launch and has this report:

Jan Burian,  photo CTK
Jan Burian started his career in a musical duo with Jiri Dedecek, with whom he played and sang songs poking fun at the Communist regime. The Communists paid them back by never letting them release a single record. The two decided to perform separately as solo artists, and after the fall of communism in 1989, Jan Burian released his first LP. Some say that while Jan Burian has always had a good head on his shoulders, the same cannot be said about his vocal cords. But

Burian does not claim to be a virtuoso singer - the magic of his music lies elsewhere.

Since 1989, Jan Burian has put out several records, and each one sounds completely different. I asked him what was he trying to do with his newLP called "Zrcadlo", or the Mirror?

"This one - after many years - features songs with my own lyrics, and the music is a kind of dialogue between piano and other instruments - so you can hear musical instruments, real sounds and electronic sounds. The guy who arranged the music is young, he's only 25 and I enjoyed working with him very much, because he is very inventive - actually he is half my age."

Mr. Burian explained that he actually did not know exactly who his listeners were, and that he made the record for people who are interested in other people's opinions on life, or in learning where one can get at a certain stage of life, and it's meant for everybody.

As I said, Jan Burian is a versatile man, a kind of a 21st century renaissance figure, as he not only writes poems and sings on his own records, but has also a regular programme on Czech TV, called Burian's Cultural Sanatorium. Furthermore he has a show on Czech Radio, and is also the author of several travelogues - he has written about trips to New York, Denmark, Iceland and Chile. I asked him if he had a particular favourite out of all his diverse activities.

"No, I don't, I can always choose what I want to do. And the main thing for me, my greatest success, is that I'm able to make a living doing what amuses me and what I like. I don't have to make any compromises, I'm free and I don't want to give up my freedom under any circumstances."