On January 29th at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, Czech singer Lenka Dusilová and her band Baromantika tantalised those unfamiliar with her music, while delivering considerable satisfaction to her loyal Czech fans. Dusilová, who arrived with her newborn baby, has performed solo acts in London before, but this was the first time that she and Baromantika have come together.
The atmosphere of the Thursday evening event was relaxed, with audience members – many of them Czech – repairing occasionally to the bar outside before returning for their favourite parts of the evening. A few technical hiccups were soon solved and the performance began. Dusilová ‘s perfectionism came to the fore as she signalled to the sound technician to make adjustments, at times even hushing the crowd. This attention to detail paid off: her unique performance didn’t disappoint and those watching were quickly overpowered by the singer’s voice and the eclectic styles in her music.
The name of Dusilová’s band and her last album Baromantika stems – she explained in an interview before the concert – from a blend of the words Baroque and Romanticism: two cultural movements that rejected conformity, industry and the scientific rationalization of the natural world, promoting instead a connection with nature and one’s own self consciousness. Dusilová agreed this would be a good description of her artistic spirit: she is constantly striving to know and express herself through her music.
Her performance on Thursday reflected this. The show featured songs from both Baromantika and the latest album, V Hodině Smrti (At the Hour of Death), wavering between a sense of tranquillity and one of personal struggle, expressed through Dusilová’s powerful vocals. Asked about her musical influences, the singer says she was inspired by her own life story rather than anything external and by those musicians with whom she collaborates. Her goal, she adds, is to create ‘truthful emotions’ on stage and in her music. Her band strives not to categorize itself within a particular musical genre but rather to create music without limits. This musical freedom was clear during the performance: an intriguing blend of pop, rock, folk and the esoteric. The result was a captivating and commanding performance.
Lenka Dusilová and Baromantika at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen was organised by the Czech Centre, London.