Kubišová returns to studio with A Prayer for Marta

Marta Kubišová, photo: CTK

Almost five decades after recording her trademark song, the soon to retire Marta Kubišová gets a little help from some friends on a new version.

Marta Kubišová, photo: CTK
Modlitba pro Martu, A Prayer for Marta, was first recorded by then popstar Marta Kubišová in 1968. With music by Jindřich Brabec and lyrics by Petr Rada, the heartrending ballad became a symbol of resistance to the Soviet occupation that began in August of that year.

During normalisation, however, A Prayer for Marta disappeared from the airwaves, while the Communists also banned Kubišová from performing for two decades.

But she and her trademark song made a stunning return during the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when Kubišová sang it for thousands of protesters on Wenceslas Square, leaving many in tears.

Now, 49 years after originally recording A Prayer for Marta, Marta Kubišová has gone back into the studio to cut a new version.

It’s for a compilation LP of various artists named Protestsongy 1966–2017, which is coming out next year to mark the 50th anniversary of the events of 1968.

Kubišová spoke to Czech Radio after Tuesday’s recording session in Prague.

“Since then 50 years have passed and my voice is different than it used to be. But I was extremely lucky in that I had five colleagues there with me and we divided the song up beautifully among ourselves.”

Natálie Kocábová, Blanka Šrůmová, Marta Kubišová, Naďa Válová, Bára Basiková, Tereza Černochová, photo: CTK
Taking different sections of the song alongside Marta Kubišová in the studio were the singers Bára Basiková, Blanka Šrůmová, Naďa Válová, Natálie Kocábová and Tereza Černochová.

Hana Hegerová, who is 85, recorded a section of the track at home. And Kubišová – who is set to retire soon on her 75th birthday – said she too was looking forward to putting her feet up.

“She’s doing what I’ll be doing from November 1 this year. I’ll just be sitting at home and I won’t sing any more. I’m going to Slovakia for some dates and then I’ll be here in the Czech Republic for a while. On November 1, I will sing on my birthday in České Budějovice and then it’s all over for me.”