Jaromír Nohavica

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Biography

Jaromír Nohavica or Jarek Nohavica (born 7 June 1953, in Ostrava) is a Czech recording artist, songwriter, lyricist and poet. He was born in Ostrava and has played guitar since he was 13. He began studies at the Technical University of Ostrava but eventually left the school. He tried various jobs, including as a freelance lyricist. He gained fame with his first song for Marie Rottrová, Lásko, voníš deštěm (You Smell of Rain, My Love; actually a cover version of the song She's Gone by Black Sabbath). He lives in Ostrava with his wife and two children. In 1982, he started performing in public, and his songs gained popularity. His first album, Darmoděj (The Wastrel), released in 1988, sold out immediately. A mythical aura arose around Nohavica which survived even the crisis period of his treatment for alcoholism. He released the somewhat pessimistic Mikymauzoleum (Mickey Mausoleum), an album containing mainly melancholic songs. In 1994, he recorded a live album, Tři čuníci (Three Piglets), intended for children, with humorous songs. In 1996, Nohavica released Divné století (Strange Century). He and his producer employed new instruments and voices for the new songs on the album, which became a huge success. Two years later the Jaromir Nohavica and Kapela (i.e. the Band) came out with Koncert (Concert), a record featuring Nohavica playing with a band, which recognizably changed his music. The album contains mainly older material, but his treatment gave it a new appeal. His studio album from 2000, Moje smutné srdce (My Sad Heart), contained mostly sad songs about love. Nohavica also starred in Petr Zelenka's movie Rok Ďábla (Year of the Devil), which was awarded the main prize at the 37th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2002 and several other international film festivals. He translated the Polish musical Painted on Glass for Divadlo Na Fidlovačce and poeticized Mozart's opera Così fan tutte for the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre. He enjoys popularity in neighbouring Poland and Slovakia, as well as Czech Republic. In 2007, Czech singer-songwriter Jaroslav Hutka accused Nohavica of having collaborated with the StB (the Communist-era Czechoslovak secret police). Documents released the previous year indicated that in the 1980s, Nohavica had met in Austria with the noted dissidents Karel Kryl and Pavel Kohout, and had then reported to the police on their activities.

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