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Song “Havel in a Nutshell”

April 24, 2011

The song, “Havel in a Nutshell,” was composed for the occasion of the opening of the old-new exposition: "Václav Havel - Czech Myth,” the new subtitle of which is just “Havel in a Nutshell.”

The composer of the song, Petr Putna, adds: “The Director of the Václav Havel Library, Martin C. Putna - and at the same time also my brother - asked me to organise a musical programme for the vernissage. It occurred to me that it would be good to create a song that would be thematically related to the exhibition or directly to the person of Václav Havel. The framework of the song is almost identical to the concept of the exhibition, which divides Havel's life into four periods: bourgeois origin - theatre - dissent - presidency. However, I did not want to create any servile hymn or imaginary monument, but only to try, from a bird’s eye view and with humorous exaggeration, to encapsulate the life of one of the most important figures in 20th-century Czech history.  The life story of Václav Havel is so incredible and varied that it could constitute several songs, and indeed I wonder that nobody has processed him in this form before (at least not that I know about). To make the performance at the vernissage special, for cooperation I invited a beatboxer, Andrew Havlik, known from the Mako Mako band (www.makomako.cz) with whom I and my band, Závodní ovce (bandzone.cz/zavodniovce) once performed. Ondřej alias En.Dru is triple champion of the beatbox (he twice won in individuals and once with his other group, BeatBurger Band (www.beatburgerband.cz). He, with his beat and vocal improvisations, actually added a different character to the composition and moved it up a notch. Originally we considered everything to be a one-time issue: the song will be played at the opening and then will forever disappear. But, due to the response it received during the performance, we finally decided to record it.”

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Power of the Powerless – samizdat essay

„Technology – that child of modern science, which in turn is a child of modern metaphysics – is out of humanity’s control, has ceased to serve us, has enslaved us and compelled us to participate in the preparation of our own destruction. And humanity can find no way out: we have no idea and no faith, and even less do we have a political conception to help us bring things back under human control. We look on helplessly as that coldly functioning machine we have created inevitably engulfs us, tearing us away from our natural affiliations (for instance, from our habitat in the widest sense of that word, including our habitat in the biosphere) just as it removes us from the experience of Being and casts us into the world of “existences”.“

Václav Havel:
Power of the Powerless – samizdat essay, October 1978