Filed Under:

American Bluegrass, Imported By A Czech Band

Play associated audio

NPR's Don Gonyea normally reports on politics, but he finds other stories along the way, like this one about a touring bluegrass band from the Czech Republic.

The first time I heard Druha Trava play was April 2009. I was covering President Obama's trip to the Europe. There was a big outdoor speech in Prague, and the band was playing Czech versions of Bob Dylan songs.

I did a short radio postcard story back then, figuring it was the kind of experience that every music fan knows: You stumble upon a great band somewhere and never see them again.

Now it's the fall of 2011, and I'm chasing candidates around Iowa. Who should be doing a show at the Czech and Slovak Hall in Cedar Rapids? Druha Trava.

Robert Krestan is a singer and mandolin player in the band. Others play guitar, bass, dobro and banjo. Inspiration comes directly from Bill Monroe and other American bluegrass bands, old and new. But Krestan says they don't just mimic the sound.

"Well, I don't just do American music. I write my own songs. I [have written] my own songs since I was 12 years old," he says. "So, it's kind of natural for me, and it's natural for me to combine American influences and my Czech roots."

On this tour, Druha Trava is promoting its first-ever English language CD. The band is on the road in the U.S., with a show in Wichita, Kan., Saturday night.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Chess Wars: 20 Inmates, 5 Weeks, 1 Champion

Deep in the woods of New Hampshire, 20 inmates are engaged in a fierce chess tournament in a secluded prison. The prize may be just a paper certificate, but even then, winning means a lot.
NPR

Birmingham Chefs Test Appetite For New Flavors With Supper Clubs

Pop-up dining experiences are cropping up across the country. While diners savor an exclusive meal, chefs get to try out recipes and gauge the local market for their food before opening a restaurant.
NPR

Bernie Sanders Appears Poised To Defeat Hillary Clinton In New Hampshire

Going into the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared poised to defeat rival Hillary Clinton in the state. NPR explores how meaningful such an outcome would be for each campaign going forward.
NPR

Password Security Is So Bad, President Obama Weighs In

In unveiling a sweeping plan to fund and revamp cybersecurity, the president asks citizens to consider using extra layers of security besides the password.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.