Thirty years on: Czechs and Slovaks still making music together
Czechs and Slovaks are marking 30 years since they parted in what has become known as the Velvet Divorce. Although the two nations have gone their separate ways, culturally they remain very close and nowhere is this more evident than in the sphere of music.
Almost every year at least one Czech and Slovak duet hits the airwaves and many of them have become hits. We have selected some of the best Czech-Slovak duets born after the break-up. The first by the Czech band Chinaski and Slovakia’s No Name, recorded in 2007 is about the friendship that survived the divorce.
Na, na, naaa
In the years following the break-up there was inevitably a feeling of nostalgia for the common state which lasted for over seven decades. This was a sentiment that Chinaski and the Slovak singer Bára Hosnedlová reflected in their song Česká vlajka má Slovenský klín - the Czech flag has a Slovak wedge –referring to the blue triangle wedged between the red and white strips of what is now the Czech flag.
Michal Malátný from Chinaski, who was 22 when Czechoslovakia broke up, said the song had been ten years in the making. “The whole of Europe was coming together and we were breaking up. It seemed crazy. So we decided to make a song about how we still understand each other, and that in many ways –linguistically and culturally we still belong together.”
The song was recorded in 2016 and topped the radio charts for months.
Naturally, love and breaking-up is also a frequent theme of the post 2003 duets. But, also, the gradual linguistic alienation of the former sister states. In 2014 Czech singer Xindl X and Slovakia’s Mirka Miškechová recorded Cudzinka v tvojej zemi – I’m a stranger in your country – which became an instant hit.
Cudzinka v tvojej zemi
Mirka Miškechová says that despite the title of the song she feels very much at home in this country and loves cooperating with Czech singers. "I think Slovaks and Czechs have remained strongly connected. We may have separated at the level of state and politics, but our hearts have remained together," she said in one of her earlier interviews.
Xindl X and Mirka Miškechová have written the lyrics to several other Czech-Slovak duets, among others the song Na srdci, sung by the Czech band Slza and Celeste Buckingham, a Slovak singer with American roots who now lives in Nashville. Na srdci was recorded in 2017.
2018 saw the release of two Czech-Slovak songs – a Christmas song by Chinaski and Katarína Knechtová – called Miliooony přání –Millions of wishes and a duet called Padam or I’m Falling sung by by Ben Cristovao a Mária Čírová. It has over twenty million views on YouTube.
And the very latest joint Czech-Slovak undertaking is a duet that was recorded this year. It is called One morning and is sung by the Slovak singer Tina and Czech actor Martin Hoffman as the title song to a new film series.
The Velvet Divorce: 30 years
The former state of Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two countries, the Czech and Slovak Republics, on December 31, 1992.