Also in Hana Blažeková’s ‘Big Beat’ series of uploads there have been (still very recently) uploaded selections of some of the best tracks by, variously, Marcela Laiferová, Eva Kostolányiová, Eva Sepešiová and Marie Rottrová.
As I was at work at Enjoying Derby on Tuesday afternoon my attention was drawn, whilst working along to Marcela Laiferová’s selection, to the track entitled ‘Nemáš ma rád’ (recorded in 1967)…and if one listens to it one can easily see why it caused such a sensation. It was not only Ali Babki who were acting as exponents of Ska east of the Iron Curtain back in the mid- and late-1960s. So was Marcela. In addition to that, it was penned by her husband, Jaroslav Laifer, together with Branislav Hlubocký, so once again we are looking at entirely natively conceived Ska somewhere in the Eastern Bloc. Here it is courtesy of ‘RETRO SLOVAK’. It seems incredible that a record sounding like this was performed by one looking like that and born and brought up in a very small town near the foothills of the snowy Tatras – a whole universe away from an island in the Caribbean!
I have grown almost to be sort of expecting Soul to crop up east of the Iron Curtain, being the international kind of music it is, but Ska is something entirely more exclusive and – by association through the Commonwealth – quintessentially ‘British’. One thinks to oneself, “what had Poland and Czechoslovakia to do with Jamaica to bring all this about?” I can only assume that there must have been a conduit via that near-neighbour of Jamaica’s, Cuba, which would have had very friendly relations with the nations of the Warsaw Pact at the time.
Can anybody come up with a more plausible explanation?