Rudy Linka

Today in Mailbox: We quote from your correct answers to our October quiz question and announce the name of the lucky winner. Listeners quoted:Asifa Shaneen, Hans Verner Lollike, Roger Tidy, Ganesh Chandra Kundu, Jayanta Chakrabarty, S. J. Agboola, Mogire Machuki, Paul Peacock, Evelyn Coviello, David Eldridge, Alan Roe, Stephen Wara, Charles Konecny, Meng Cheng, Colin Law.

Rudy Linka
Hello and welcome to Mailbox. As promised, today we will quote from your correct answers to our October quiz question and finally announce the name of the lucky listener who will receive a present from Radio Prague. So let’s get down to business:

Asifa Shaneen from Pakistan wrote:

“I am also your regular listener, as is my husband Riaz Ahmad Khan, but this is the first time I am taking part in your monthly quiz. The name of that guitarist is Rudy Linka. He moved to the United States in 1985 to study at Berklee College of Music. He has founded his own jazz trio, the Rudy Linka Trio. He is internationally recognised as one of the top guitarists in the world.”

Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark writes:

“I am not into jazz, but when you ask a jazz-lover and tell them you are looking for a Czech-American jazz guitarist he is never in doubt. The name is: Rudy Linka. He was infected by jazz already as he lived and studied in Prague. Via Germany he defected to Sweden in 1980 and then he came to the US. He has since 1995 been numerous times back in the Czech Republic to inspire jazz lovers, like at the Bohemian Jazz Fest.”

Roger Tidy from England sent us this:

“Linka took a number of established jazz musicians as his mentors, including Red Mitchell and John Abercrombie, and by the mid-1980s was a respected musician in his own right. Linka's portfolio of recordings includes two albums that he created in collaboration with George Mraz and Marvin Smitty Smith, and he has performed in a number of European countries as well as in the United States. Most significantly, perhaps, he was welcomed back to his home country after the fall of communism and, at the invitation of President Václav Klaus, he has has performed, along with other top jazz musicians, at Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech presidency. “

Ganesh Chandra Kundu writes from India:

“This month Radio Prague has given us an opportunity to know more about another Czech stalwart – this time in the form of a Czech-American jazz guitarist who has made his country proud. Rudy Linka, an adventurous guitarist who was able to embrace a vintage standard, made a strong impression in the mid-1990's. … In 1998 he was voted one of the ten best guitarists by the readers of the magazine ‘Down Beat’.”

Also from India, Jayanta Chakrabarty wrote:

“There seems to be no dearth in Czech talent for music – be it classical, folk, opera or jazz. Starting as a young teenage student of classical guitar at the renowned Prague Conservatory, Rudy Linka emigrated to Sweden as political conditions were not conducive to pursue his pet passion wholeheartedly. His mentor in jazz was an all-time pioneer of modern Czech jazz, the versatile Karel Velebný. Exposition to the West helped to hone up his musical skill.. ... Yet this humble Czech soul never forgets to pay tribute to his country of birth by joining regularly in the Bohemia Jazz Fest.”

S. J. Agboola from Nigeria wrote:

“Rudy Linka was able to identify his gift early enough as he studied classical guitar as a teenager. His alma maters were: Prague Conservatory, Stockholm Music Institute, Berklee College of Music, and the New School. He was greatly influenced by people like: Karel Velebný, Red Mitchell, John Abercrombie, Jim Hall, George Mraz and Marvin Smith.”

Mogire Machuki writes from Kenya:

“He studied classical guitar at Prague's conservatory, composition in Stockholm, then professional music at Berklee College of Music and finally he graduated private studies with John Abercrombie and Jim Hall. Rudy Linka performed with John Abercrombie, Red Mitchell, Bob Mintzer, Gil Goldstein among others. He took part at international jazz festivals in Europe – Pori Jazz, AghaRTA Prague Jazz Festival and Skeppsholm Jazz Festival and in the U.S. He often plays with his own jazz group at various jazz clubs, such as Visiones, Blues Alley, Scullers, Birdland, Five Spot and Blue Note in New York and in Prague's AghaRTA jazz club.”

Paul Peacock writes from Australia:

“Rudy Linka has released 13 albums to date, some of these were, in 1992 ‘News From Home,’ 1994 ‘Czech it Out,’ 1997 ‘Always Double Czech,’ 2000 ‘Live it Up,’ with his latest being ‘Songs’ in 2008.”

Evelyn Coviello from New York adds:

“’Czech it Out’ (1995) and ‘Always Double Czech’ (1997) are two of the many named albums from jazz guitarist Rudy Linka. Even though Mr. Linka lives here in the U.S., his clever album titles obviously pay homage to his respectable Czech heritage.”

David Eldridge from the United Kingdom sent us this answer:

“Rudy Linka… grew up in a musical family and became attracted to the guitar when he was thirteen. During the late '70s he circulated amongst musicians in Prague and moved to Sweden via Germany in 1981. He lived in Sweden for four years but didn't find as much activity on the jazz scene as he was expecting. His attention turned to the United States and in 1985 won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a year. Later he got another scholarship to New School, in New York, and studied there for two years. He toured Europe in 1996 and was highly acclaimed by enthusiasts of jazz as a guitar player. From 1989 he has also worked as a music teacher. Now he frequently visits the Czech Republic, amongst other things organising jazz festivals and has on one occasion been stopped by police from ‘busking’ on Charles Bridge!”

Alan Roe also from the UK adds:

“Whilst researching this, I found that Rudy has his own website where you can listen to a few clips of Rudy's music.”

Stephen Wara from Cameroon:

“Founder of the Bohemia Jazz Fest in 2005, Rudy Linka, who has led his own jazz trio, The Rudy Linka Trio, for the last 18 years, as well as been voted one of the ten best jazz guitarists in Down Beat Magazine, is indeed one of the greatest.”

Charles Konecny from Ohio writes:

“One of the things that struck me is the vast studies Rudy has in classical guitar. So many schools and lessons with jazz greats. It is no wonder he is one of the best of the jazz guitarists. He should also be complimented that he returns to organize many of the jazz festivals in the Czech Republic. On a YouTube interview he comes across as a very amiable person. And last, but not least......’Rudy Linka’ just sounds like a name for a jazz guitarist.”

Meng Cheng from China sent us this:

“Actually, ARTS, one of your feature programmes highlighted Rudy Linka on July 7th 2006. Rudy Linka is a great performer who's well-known all over the world, so he seems to need no introduction to international audiences.”

Colin Law from New Zealand lists all our programmes featuring the artist:

“Rudy is obviously well-known to Radio Prague as he featured recently in a July 2010 Current Affairs item by Ian Willoughby. In addition, Rudy was mentioned in the January 2010 programme ‘Best of the Past Year’ (Ian Willoughby) and in a July 2009 Current Affairs item (Rosie Johnston and Ian Willoughby), in a One on One item in June 2009 (Ian Willoughby), in a news item in July 2008 (Jan Richter) and an ‘Arts’ item in July 2006 (Jan Velinger).

“Rudy Linka was born in Prague on May 29th 1960. He came from a musical family most of whom played piano or the violin, which he learned from the age of 6. He was only 8 years old when the Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, but although the communists didn’t approve of jazz he was enterprising enough as a teenager to find the US embassy cultural centre where he borrowed LP records to copy to tape at home and so built up his own extensive jazz collection. At 13 Rudy became interested in the guitar and went on to study classical guitar at Prague Conservatory. His mentor, Karel Velebný, encouraged Rudy’s interest in jazz.

Rudy Linka
“He is the founder and President of the Bohemia Jazz Fest, which this year featured in seven Czech cities over nine days with performers from 14 countries.”

Many thanks for your answers and the time you took researching. This time the lucky winner who can expect a Radio Prague parcel in the mail is Evelyn Coviello from New York. Congratulations! The rest of you can give it another try this month as we are looking for the name of the Czech-German author and art historian who was born in Prague in 1896 and died in 1970 in Rome.

Your answers need to reach us by the end of November at [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Mailbox will be back again next week to answer your questions and air your opinions. Till then, happy listening.