Prague Rock
The New Double Album
From Ben New

Ben New

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Disk One
(click the images for insights and lyrics to the songs)



1. Twenty Thirteens
2. What We Don't Know
Don't Know
3. Come To Your Senses
4. Battery
Battered George Washington
5. Isn't It Strange
6. Ayatoilet

7. Bay Of Pigs
Bay of pigs
8. Order
9. There's Madness Today
10. Lucid


Disk Two

1. Bahia Wrongo
2. Banshees In Pesto
Banshees in Pesto

3. Titanica

4. Virtue

5. Alignments

6. Sympathy For Godzilla
7. The Sleep Of Reason

8. Prague Rock
Prague Rock

Why "Prague Rock"?


Yes, a number of people have asked about this.
Of course there's the obvious play on words,
and I do enjoy such things..
but this is not the entire impetus for the title.
The idea at the onset of recording this album was originally a seeking of freedom,
in this case artistic freedom.

It's not as if I have been particularly oppressed in the previous works I've created
Yet some measure of constraint was employed.
I write music and perform it for primarily one reason.
I want to hear it.

I believe there is a value here that others will find meaningful as well.
I suggest there are certain qualities that are just not found all that readily or often,
available to the listener here.
Of course if it isn't one's cup of tea, there are always all the other beverages out there.
That's OK.

What kind of constraints am I free of in this particular recording?
Time constraints for one.
The themes are explored without much consideration for duration.
They are what they more and no less.
If there is a long ambient section built up of tape loops
so be it.
And there are 2 disks, so there's twice as much space-time to decorate as my previous releases.
There are numerous instrumental selections on this album as well.
I like that.
There is a purity in instrumental music.

The whole album is a collection of music that just happened...there was no particular goal for marketing it.
It exists for it's own sake.
And this is what makes it "free" and I hope, interesting.
It's a solid progressive rock album.

This brings us back to Prague.
Civil disobedience.
The indomitable human spirit.
The most successful peaceful revolt I can think of.
The Velvet Revolution
The hopes and promises of the last great liberal democracy on Earth.

While the anniversary celebrations prove that the essence of spirit
that was so eloquently delivered during the 1989 uprising,
is still alive and well today in the Czech Republic;
we also acknowledge that what has happened since,
is not quite what the people bargained for.

Since the advent of man living in a society,
there have always been those who believe they have rights
to dominate that society.
Whether in the form of Pharaohs, Caesars, Popes,
Poobahs, Grand Wazoos, Political Parties, or Robber Barons;
Someone is always "cracking down".

Tyranny is tyranny and oppression is oppression.
It matters not whether it is called
Feudalism or Fascism.
Communism or Capitalism.
A military takeover or a corporate kleptocracy.
Whether it's a Russian Oligarch or an American Oligarch
is an insignificant nuance.
Oppression comes in a myriad of forms.
Or at least it uses many forms as a delivery vehicle.

Yet as most all western democracies have abandoned their foundations
and are flirting with autocratic rule of one type or another,
The utter importance of what transpired in Prague becomes crystal clear.
We seem doomed to watch helplessly as others
repeat history they have little or no knowledge of.
(Or are willfully ignorant of).

Fortunately our Czech friends vividly demonstrated in 1989
that if oppressed people unite
they can, and will win.
In 1989, students and intellectuals took the lead roles,
but they included the blue collar  workers in declaring a strike that shut down the country. 
The size of the crowd in the square grew  from 200,000 to 500,000 in one  day.  
The people were of one mind and one purpose, freedom.  There was unity among the oppressed.

For every Goliath, there's a rock.
A Prague Rock.


When is a song more than a song?

When it's a symbol of the value of human dignity.
The right to be as you are.
This song became an audible icon of the Velvet Revolution.

In 1968, the year of the Prague Spring;
Marta Kubišová, who had been a member of the hugely popular group Golden Kids,
was barred from performing by the authorities.
She'd been silenced for over 2  decades, but performed this song once again
on the balcony of  balcony of the Melantrich building in Wenceslas Square.
Crowds of up to 200,000 began gathering every evening to listen to Civic Forum leaders
like Václav Havel speak from the balcony of the Melantrich building.
Marta Kubišová had been in the crowd one evening, carrying bags of shopping.
The following night, however, she was to enter the history books
with her own dramatic appearance on that balcony – singing her best known song in public for the first time in two decades.
(Learn more from Radio Praha )

Modlitba pro Martu
(English version of the lyrics)

Let peace continue with this country.
Let wrath, envy, hate, fear and struggle vanish.
Now, when the lost reign over your affairs will return to you,
people, it will return.
The cloud is slowly sailing away from the skies,
Everyone is reaping his own harvest.
Let my prayer speak to the hearts not burned by the times of bitterness
like blooms by a late frost.
Let peace continue with this country.
Let wrath, envy, hate, fear and struggle vanish.
Now, when the lost reign over your affairs will return to you,
people, it will return.
Let my prayer speak to the hearts not burned by the times of bitterness
like blooms by a late frost.
Let peace continue with this country.
Let wrath, envy, hate, fear and struggle vanish.
Now, when the lost reign over your affairs will return to you,
people, it will return.

Vaclav Havel, 1936-2011

 Vaclav Havel was a human rights advocate and dissident playwright
who led Czechoslovakia's 1989 "Velvet Revolution" and then served as president. 
 He was president of Czechoslovakia from December 1989 until July 1992.
After the nation split in two and Slovakia went its own way,
he served as president of the Czech Republic from 1993 until 2003,
just months before the two nations joined the European Union .
I describe him as "The Last Great Working Class Hero"
on the page about the musical piece I wrote called Prague Rock .
He was a great proponent of romantic idealism,
which he often expressed in deep philosophical terms.

Whether he was ridiculing Soviet rulers in his plays
or searching for the meaning of life during his imprisonment as well as during his presidency,
his idealism guided his thought processes.
"The past has left us spiritually impoverished," he declared in pledging as president to focus on
"the ethical, moral aspects of society, on creating space for dialogue, agreement and tolerance."

As a dissident leader, Havel promoted the slogan, "May truth and love triumph over lies and hatred."
During his years in office he stressed the importance of "civil society"
 "None of us—as an individual—can save the world as a whole, but . . . each of us must behave as though it were in his power to do so,"
Havel wrote in his 1997 book, "The Art of the Impossible: Politics as Morality in Practice."

 "The transformation of the totalitarian system into a democratic one is not only a matter of several parties replacing one ruling party
and the introduction of some democratic mechanisms," Havel said in a 1994 interview with The NY Times.
"It is also a matter of a great transformation of thinking
because people must learn again to be citizens,
to rediscover the civic responsibility
which the totalitarian regime did not demand from them
because it required mere obedience."

 He was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize ,
received numerous honorary doctorates
and was awarded various international honors for his human rights efforts,
including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. 
While the forces of vulture capitalism from without and former political adversaries from within
hampered his later years as president and his popularity waned somewhat at home, 
across the globe he remained a voice for democracy and morality in government.

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