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Czech Band Mydy Rabycad at the Henley Festival, reviewed by Ian Mole

Rating:

15/07/2015

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Mydy Rabycad

Mydy Rabycad

It seemed a difficult task at first. A young band from the Czech Republic playing their first U.K. gig and trying to win over an audience – with an average age of about sixty – who’d almost certainly never heard their music before. Also, Mydy Rabycad are a dance band and this was an all-seater venue.  So it’s to their lasting credit they won us over and ended their set to great applause as well as a few cries for more.

Mydy Rabycad  have been described as electro-swing, which is a fusion of modern and old blues-jazz styles, and whether or not they’re happy with the label they certainly get the feet and hands tapping. They took the stage at 7.15 to the strains of ‘Minnie the Moocher’ with around fifty very well-dressed people present. There were six band members on stage with a foundation of drums, bass and guitar,  plus two keyboard players and last, but certainly not least, Zofie Darbujanova on lead vocals.

On a sartorial note, Zofie was wearing a flowing backless dress with what looked like balloons bouncing around under its skirts. Much more importantly she’s got a great voice and amply demonstrated she can reproduce her performances on their recent album Glamtronic live.  So can the musicians, who are notably versatile  – a nice touch was the way they kept swapping instruments,  Mikulas Pejcha switching between keyboards, sax and a nameless item that looked like a space-age melodica, while Jan Drabek traded his bass for some keyboards, all of them – as well as band fulcrum Nero Scartch – contributing backing vocals that sounded wonderfully fresh and strange.  Much credit must go to Tomas Konupka on drums who powered the whole ensemble along and together with Drabek laid down a funky, jazzy, infectious groove. Samples are used to good effect on Glamtronic and a few made their way into this set, adding texture to the overall sound. Lyrically the songs covered a range of topics,  from bitter broken romance,  to wild nights out, to a star riddled with self-love.

Zofie Darbujanova, image by Frank Schwichtenberg

Zofie Darbujanova, image by Frank Schwichtenberg

They played thirteen songs – including four from ‘Glamtronic’ – and although several people left after song three, more and more kept arriving. By the fourth song, ‘Until the Morning’, many were clapping along at Zofie’s encouragement and, a few songs later, a couple had taken to the floor and were dancing along, several of those at the back dancing too. Zofie dispensed with her high heels so she could glide around more easily herself, establishing a rapport with the crowd it would be hard to imagine a British band achieving in Czech with an audience in Prague. One of the last songs was ‘Drowning’ and Zofie introduced it as “a summer song”. A semi open-air auditorium on a warm summer evening next to the Thames was the ideal place for such a piece and it received generous applause.

Mydy Rabycad have at least two more U.K. gigs later in the year including the Maui Waui Festival at Theberton, Suffolk on 5th September. Catch them if you can.

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Details of Mydy Rabycad’s tour dates can be found at: http://www.mydyrabycad.cz/en/tour

 

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