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The Yehla Collective

Steel Strings +
Iron Curtains

CD $14.98

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NOMINATED for 4 Washington Area Music Awards (Best Folk/World Album/Group)!

The first-ever English-language recording of the famous songs that ignited the downfall of Communism! Released for the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall, these famous songs by Czech folk masters Karel Kryl and Jaromir Novahica sparkle in new recordings by the Yehla Collective, a gathering of American, Czech, Slovak, Moravia and Armenian musical talent brought together especially for these recordings.

Gypsy jazz, western swing, folk harmonies, Armenian violin and the traditional fujara and koncovka overtone flutes blend to bring new life to the powerful political and existential lyrics of the Czech Republic’s two greatest poet-bards, who produced a fusion of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits blended behind the Iron Curtain. The album has been featured on Radio Prague International and the nationally televised Czech news program ČT24 (click to view the news segment).

“The production and each musicians’ contribution to this album is remarkable. I always wondered how our music, limited by its language barrier, would be accepted by ordinary folk outside of our borders, when it was predominantly meant for those here at home… These songs prove in today’s day and age that we (Czechs) have an ability to create traditional tunes embraced by a worldwide audience.” Czech folk icon Vladimir Merta 

“The excellent arrangements and translations give a very good insight into the lyrical and musical talent of Kryl and Nohavica.” – Erik Prochnow,

“I can understand comparisons with Leonard Cohen especially, not only lyrically but in terms of the eclectic musical styles and arrangements. You might even see occasional similarities of expression with Brel or even Brecht… The music is engagingly presented, and to me the lyrics are worth the price of the CD.” – David Harley,

“Listening to the Steel Strings and Iron Curtains record is like a small miracle – like bringing an angel home in a box of soap… Kryl’s and Nohavic’s compositions are re-poemed magnificently – faithful to the originals, but not slavishly translated, and the result sounds natural, as if English were the native language of those songs. American and foreign audiences seem to respond positively to it.” – Novinky (the Czech Republic’s most-visited news website)

“What is the suggestive expression of the singing bards in a foreign language and a completely different cultural context, if, moreover, they are such strong personalities as Kryl and Nohavica? What will he do with their artistic statement? The surprise is more than pleasant… These are Kryl’s and Nohavic’s words, only in English, and they sound like they were born in it. However, the new recording definitely does not try to imitate the originals, it has its own contribution even in terms of musical arrangement… Karel Kryl and Jaromír Nohavica also sound beautiful in English poetics and impress as well as in the original.” – Pravda


Petersburg (Jaromir Nohavica/Roman Kostovski)

Salome (Karel Kryl/Roman Kostovski)