Czech band Cankisou is one of the international acts that will be performing at this year’s Rainforest World Music Festival. The band became famous in the Czech Republic and also abroad for its concerts full of energy and wild rhythms. Cankisou mixes global influences from various cultures with rock music. They use a rich collection of exotic instruments.
Singer Karel Herman discusses Cankisou’s philosophy with World music Central.
Can you give our readers a brief history on how the band was formed?
Our band was established spontaneously at a Christmas party in 1998. Then we invited two more members and since that we have performed like this without any change.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Energy. The most important thing in our music is transfer of energy between band and audience.
Your music crosses boundaries. Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
Definitely South Moravia (that´s a region in the Czech Republic) where all of us are from. Then we let Balkan music put its influence on us (which I´m really close to), as well as Africa and Asia (and for me especially Nusrat Fateh Ali Khán from Pakistan).
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
Our first record Hudba lidu Čanki (Music of the Čanki people) sprang up from music we had listened to. Thanks to our traveling friends we had started to collect ethnic music and that´s what inspired us.
With the following CD´s it was already us traveling the world and visiting for us exotic places not only in Europe.
How would you describe the music in your latest album?
Music on our last CD Faÿt reflects our present situation, our life. That´s why it´s much harder (more rocky) than our previous records. But at the same time there is still playfulness and melody which is so characteristic for us and for our CD´s.
Can you share some information about the program you’ll present at the Rainforest World Music Festival?
We´re going to play a selection from all of the five CD´s we´ve released so far (and I hope that more will come). Actually it´s gonna be overview of the 14 years of our existence.
Tell us a little about the musicians that will be performing at the Rainforest World Music Festival.
Čankišou is a band with three generations of musicians. There is a nearly 30 years difference between the youngest one and the oldest one. And that´s an advantage cause we have managed to connect experience with young enthusiasm and musical maturity with modern music elements.
What is the background of these musicians and what instruments do they play?
Every musician has its own music history mainly from rock bands. The oldest Zdenek Kluka, who plays drums, accordion and percussions, is a Czech rock legend and also composes a lot for theatres all over the Czech republic. David Synak, the most ethno guy in the band, plays didjeridoo, any kind of flute or tube, sax and percussion. Rene Senko, our band´s graphic designer, plays tenor sax, ukulele and a bell from bicycle. Martin Krajicek handles guitar, mandolin and ukulele. Roman Mrazek plays bass guitar and Martin Cech the drums and percussion. And I sing and try to play trumpet a bit.
How’s the current music scene in the Czech Republic?
Czech music scene is influenced very strongly by the West (I mean USA, UK). But there are also amazing ethnic bands such as Čechomor, Tomáš Kočko Ochestr, Terne Čave and others. I would like to say that our last CD Faÿt spent 3 months in the Top 20 of the World music charts Europe which is very unique for a Czech record to take such position in this international chart.
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with whom would that be?
Peter Gabriel, Goran Bregovič, Shurya Khanam, Rajery, Cesaria Evora.
If I were to visit the Czech Republic for the first time, which places would you recommend that I visit?
Definitely South and North Morava (region in the Czech republic), cities Prague, Telč and Český Krumlov.
Are there any shops or locations where one can purchase traditional musical instruments or recordings by local artists?
There are several places where you can buy or order our folk instruments. Records of local artists can be bought in any bigger music shop.
Rainforest World Music Festival: rwmf.net
For travel to Rainforest World Music Festival and accommodation: sarawaktourism.com