Dagmar Voňková first appeared on the Czech music scene in the 1970s as a member of the free formation Šafrán, which was part of the underground music scene and gathered artists who did not comply with the communist regime. She made her name by her unique approach to guitar play and an expressive way of singing, but also by her distinctive compositional method, which often drew on folk-song material. In the 1980s, the artist released her two groundbreaking albums, Dagmar Andrtová-Voňková and Živá voda (Life Water), that immediately gained her recognition outside the boarders of Czechoslovakia as well. She has appeared at festivals around the world. The 1990s saw the release of her album Voliéra (Aviary), several folk collections, live recordings from the Skagen festival in Denmark, and several international editions of her albums. Since the turn of the millennium, she has released two albums, Slunci ležím v rukou (I Am Cradled by the Sun; 2008), in collaboration with Zdeňek Zdeňek, and Hostina (Feast; 2017). In 2018, Voňková accepted an invitation from Petr Ostrouchov and the Strings of Autumn festival to celebrate her important anniversary with a unique performance. On the stage of the Archa Theatre in Prague, she was joined by a group of jazz musicians, including Beata Hlavenková, Dorota Barová, Marcel Bárta, Marian Friedl, and others, who were invited by Ostrouchov to come up with their own arrangements of Voňková’s composition. Together, they provided the artist’s older, as well as more recent repertoire with a new sound, based on a variety of colours, rhythmical pulses, inventive improvisation, and multi-voiced singing. A recording of the performance, which met with a great acclaim, was released two years later under the title Dagmar Voňková: Archa, on CD and later as a double record as well.
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