Dvouleta Fama

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The Czech group Dvouletá Fáma went through two different periods of existence in the 1980s. Trapped in the underground, it seldom performed, recorded rarely, and on the long run had little impact. Yet,…
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Artist Biography by

The Czech group Dvouletá Fáma went through two different periods of existence in the 1980s. Trapped in the underground, it seldom performed, recorded rarely, and on the long run had little impact. Yet, the little documents the group left showcase a very original new wave/avant-pop band working in the same vein as Pere Ubu and After Dinner, but in a Czech context.

The group started in 1981 when drummer Zdenek Konopásek established himself in Prague and began to look around for kindred musicians. He soon met guitarist Martin Vik and singer Jana Machácková. They began to rehearse with bassist Roman Stefl, one of Machácková's friends, but he was drafted into the Army almost immediately, and the group recruited Ivan Benda as his replacement. Their collaboration with lyricist Pjer Lasez was cut short for the same reason. The music was a result of a collective effort.

From 1981 to 1983, Dvouletá Fáma enjoyed an active career, playing regularly to enthusiastic audiences, mainly in Prague. Its music was fit for nightclubs while retaining the avant-gardist quirkiness that defined the Czech new wave. Things changed in early 1983 when the Communist regime intensified the repression against rock music. Like many other artists, the group had to go underground, something the bandmembers weren't ready for. Vik and Machácková got married, the latter had a child and decided to stop singing. The group managed to record and self-release its only studio album before it was too late (reissued on cassette by Black Point in 1993 and, in a remastered version, as part of the 2-CD set Studio 1983 & Live 1988 in 2001).

Vik and Konopásek renewed contact in 1987 and decided to start a new project using their early-'80s name. They befriended poet/actor Radomil Uhlír who became their singer/speaker and an imposing frontman. Trading the gentle voice of an innocent-looking girl for the manic overtones of a theatrical declaimer was bound to have an influence on the music: It became darker and looser. There were few concerts, but one in June 1988 was committed to tape and released on cassette in 1990 (reissued as the second-half of the aforementioned set). Soon after the trio was granted permission to rehearse in a boiler-house in the small town of Cernosice and drafted the boilerman, Josef "Ferda" Matousek, as their bassist. The quartet continued to perform occasionally, moving more and more toward improvisation, and in 1992 changed its name to Kvartet Doktora Konopneho (Dr. Konopny's Quartet).