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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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Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„Once you’re here, however, whether you want to or not, you have to ask the question: does all of this have a meaning, and if so, what?… Ultimately, I can only find an answer – a positive answer – within myself, in my general faith in the meaning of things, in my hope. What, in fact, is man responsible to? What does he relate to? What is the final horizon of his actions, the absolute vanishing point of everything he does, the undeceivable “memory of Being”, the conscience of the world and the final “court of appeal”? What is the decisive standard of measurement, the background or the field of each of his existential experiences? And likewise, what is the most important witness or the secret sharer in his daily conversations with himself, the thing that – regardless of what situation he has been thrown into – he incessantly inquires after, depends upon, and toward which his actions are directed, the thing that, in its omniscience and incorruptibility, both haunts and saves him, the only thing he can trust in and strive for? “

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980