Prague concert and requiem planned for late musician Ivan Král

Ivan Král, who died in February 2020, remains the Czech who had the single biggest impact on rock music, performing and writing with such names as Patti Smith Group and Iggy Pop. Next week two tributes are being held to the late rocker: a requiem mass at Prague’s Týn church on Wednesday, and a concert entitled Forever Král at Výstaviště on Sunday. I discussed the latter with organiser David Gaydečka, founder of the Metronome festival.

“Our agency was cooperating with Ivan in the last years of his life.

“We were bringing him over – he lived close to Detroit – to Prague and did tours with him, once or twice a year.

“He was one of the musicians who performed at the first edition of Metronome Prague, in 2016.

“That was coincidentally the same programme where Iggy Pop was also playing, so maybe they even met in Prague – I’m not sure.

Ivan Král | Photo: Klaus Hiltscher,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 2.0

“In 2020 we wished to bring Ivan to perform as one of the main stars and we wanted to pay tribute to him, because he’s one of the most successful Czech musicians.

“He died just before the Covid pandemic came, and with his wife, Cindy Hudson, we agreed that we would anyway do a tribute to him, that it would be sad to cancel this show that was being prepared.

“But then the Covid pandemic took over and the Metronome festival was postponed and postponed.

“In spring this year we decided, and again agreed with Cindy Hudson, that we have to do it – that the delay is so long and that we owe Ivan this tribute.

“Because he died and people didn’t really have a chance to say goodbye to him.”

Many of the artists who are performing at the concert are younger, but I also see that Jiří Suchý is performing, and he is 89 years old. What’s his connection to Ivan Král?

“Well he was one of Ivan’s heroes. I think when Ivan started his music career Jiří Suchý was a hero for many people in Czechoslovakia.

Jiří Suchý | Photo: Alžběta Švarcová,  Czech Radio

“Actually he was one of the first, or maybe the first, rock’n’roll stars in Czechoslovakia.

“The songs they did with Mr. [Jiří] Šlitr had this blues and rock’n’roll inspiration in them, and they did it already in the ‘50s.”

But didn’t Jiří Suchý also play with Ivan Král, towards the end of Ivan’s life?

“Yes, they released an album together that Ivan co-produced with Jiří Suchý.

“They performed these songs only twice. Once was at Metronome in 2016.

“And then there was this Forum 2000 international conference and they opened it with a concert at the Pražská křižovatka [Prague Crossroads] church, owned by Václav Havel.”

Speaking of church, the concert is taking place on Sunday 12, but before that on Wednesday 8, there’s also a requiem mass for Ivan Král. Can you tell us something about that please?

“That was a big wish of Cindy. And maybe also of Ivan before he died; I’m not sure – we didn’t speak to him in the last days of his life.

“It wasn’t possible to do it because of Covid before, but now it’s possible so we decided to do it had to happen in the same week as when this tribute will happen.

“It’s going to take place in the Týn church, which is on Old Town Square and is one of the most important and most beautiful churches in Prague.

“Ladislav Heryian, who is a priest, is going to be holding this mass.”

The requiem mass for Ivan Král takes place at 18:00 on Wednesday 8 September and is open to the public.