Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rybanaruby introduces the hep cats of Manesova

“It’s the fifties, in four color,” I thought when we walked into the bar last night. Most of the audience was dressed in black, men in turtlenecks and cords, the girls in leotards and short skirts, everyone wearing a serious face. The audience beat along on African drums, listening to a band with a bushy faced guitarist and a white bereted drummer who rattled and glocked his way through songs like a kid discovering the drum settings on a synthesizer and used mini-chimes to skin crawling effect. It could have been a video documentary of a jazz happening, somewhere in the U.S. in 1952, except for the colors - red yellow and orange from the scarves the girls wore casually draped, and from the ethno print cloth softening the bricks behind the stage. We were just for a moment trying out something that maybe hadn’t had a chance to happen here, years back under communism, so why not now.

Not unusual, that feeling I get sometimes, meeting up with an experience that would feel, today, so contrived in the U.S., but seems so normal here in Prague. Maybe it is just me, rebelling against my built-in irony filter, fine tuned to cringe at my own and others naïveté, but I find it endearing and liberating even that people can still go to jams and listen to hep cats play the night away, banging with their own hands too to help along the music.

The bar: Rybanaruby, Manesova 87, Prague 2.

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