Indies Scope: Tears, Past and Present

For the 30th birthday of record label Indies Scope, Brno Daily looks back at the history of this icon of the Brno music scene, revisiting a selection of the most significant releases from the label’s back catalogue. We are presenting one album every week, with commentary from co-founder Milan Páleš, who started the label with Miloš Gruber in 1990. Image: Courtesy of Indies Scope.

Continuing our retrospective series on key releases from the iconic Brno record label Indies Scope, Brno Daily is today going back to 2002…

The weekly retrospective of the Indies Scope label is showing something clear: Indies scope has always had a wide palette of musical colours in their selection, a wide range of musical genres, and freedom in the creation.

Nothing convinces you more of that than checking their catalogue of releases, still charting a path from the past to today, full of diversity and risks taken in the production and distribution of the music.

The album I will review from 2002 is a perfect example of that free soul, the cradle of ideas amid a uniform industry…

The Context in 2002

In 2002, I was paying more attention to England than anywhere else, probably because I was living there. I kept in my mind the first albums from The Libertines and The Streets.

It was also the time of the electroclash club night, with Erol Alkan and the others creating and spreading an entire scene, along with Robots in Disguise, Client, I am X and many more.

It was a year of musical cross-pollination, a nest for the next evolutions.

Meanwhile at Indies Scope

Artist: Ida Kelarová & Romano Rat

Album: Old Tears

After listening to this album by singer and pianist Ida Kelarová, you will understand that even sadness can be beautiful. If you are sometimes sad, don’t run away from that sadness, but experience its strength and depth. Emotions, sadness, love and faith are stored within this album in many layers. Unlike Věra Bílá, a typical representative of rom-pop, Kelarová, our best performer of Romani songs, possessing a strong, emotional, convincing, dark, deep, velvet-veiled voice can be included in the rom-jazz box. And it’s a real experience to hear how jazz and gypsy music come together wonderfully.

Milan Páleš remembers…

The first Romani music on Indies, and straightaway the singer Ida Kelar, sister of the equally famous Iva Bittová. Romjazz with the great band Romano Rat, led by Ida’s husband, guitarist and singer Desiderius Dužda. The album got me with its emotions and sadness, which is ubiquitous on the album.

Brno Daily reviews…

There are nine songs on this album, with an average of 6 minutes 30.

Musically oriented to a slow rom-jazz melody, with highly theatrical vocals as added value and a sign of a strong character.

The instruments highlight the tales and feelings brought to the audience by this leading vocal, sometimes joined by others, but singing with a unique sense of union, as in “Mamo Miri / Mámo moje”.

The interesting point is in the way the sadness, the melancholia, and all the beauty linked to it are passing through to the audience, even if you don’t know the language.

The piano (sometimes joined by a Violin as in “Me tuha / S tebou”), the extension and solid base of every track, adds spikes of a light lounge atmosphere (“Dživava / Stále budu žít”), increasing the sense of intimacy of the pieces.

The Romani music changes the Czech and Slovak language into something much more sensitive, something from that elsewhere where the people find their roots.

The music here speaks simply, with notes, of a cultural crossing, a creative bridge made with basic instrumentation and few effects added, from the maker to the listener, a sound in the streets of history, a past still in process, and an album to keep listening to, to understand that Czech culture is based on numerous minorities.

Minorities that are still present, or not. You can stream the album here or find out more information at Indies Scope.

More from this series:

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