Jiří Slavík's Andel award-winning Mateřština project, perfomed at Strings of Autumn in 2017, is a tasteful synthesis of Moravian folk and contemporary music that became a phenomenon and ignited Slavik's creative partnership with the VUS Ondráš folk ensemble, sparking further collaborations between them: Slavik arranged a set of traditional Christmas carols for Ondráš, and had a big hand in the success of kRok za kRokem, a major staged work which is an allegory of life from birth to death, from the first hesitant steps to the time when the legs grow weak. The music Slavík wrote for the project takes inspiration from both folk music itself and the music of composers who have used folk motifs to tranformative effect in their work - all the while remaining recognisably a 21st-century work.
In Mateřština, Slavík (with the help of folk music expert and multi-instrumentalist Marian Friedl) searches for his cultural roots, cleverly using elements of Moravian and Silesian music in his own contemporary pieces and re-workings of traditional songs. With the exception of Friedl's pipe, Slavik played all the instruments on the album himself, mixing violin, viola, cello, double bass, cimbalom, and piano to create a raw-sounding contemporary take on the folk tradition.
The Prague Sounds audience will enjoy a specially-curated mix of these two unique projects, performed by VUS Ondráš a Marian Friedl, with Jiří Slavík tak giving free rein to his talents as composer, arranger, performer, and bandleader.