AMERICAN BLUEGRASS MUSIC & THE CZECH IMAGINATION
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BANJO ROMANTIKA introduces the musicians who play a unique bluegrass hybrid. Czechs first heard bluegrass during World War II when the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music for soldiers. The music represented freedom to dissatisfied Czechs living in a communist state. Czechs’ love for the music was solidified when Pete Seeger visited and performed in 1964. Inspired by classic American bluegrass sounds, an assortment of musicians from across the formerly communist Czech Republic have melded the past, the political and the present into a lively musical tradition entirely its own. Musician Lee Bidgood leads viewers through Czech Bluegrass's fascinating history while performing original Czech Bluegrass songs at renowned venue, The Down Home, in Johnson City, Tennessee. Bidgood links the Eastern European tradition to East Tennessee, a region where, "every cowboy or every farmer loves this music and that's why everyone young and old knows how to play it," according to a traditional Czech bluegrass song.