Marfa Dialogues


Irena Havlová and Vojtěch Havel

18 May 2008

Doors 7.00pm / Show 7.30pm
Goode Crowley Theater
Tickets $10 at the door

Irena Havlová and Vojtěch Havel, the duo who are The Havels, have been collaborating for more than fifteen years, making music that has been described as “a duet between violoncello and piano taking place in a cathedral of sound.” In truth their music encompasses even more, with the artists often incorporating Tibetan bowls, bells, harmoniums, gongs, silver cups and stones to create a distinct and experimental sound. In Marfa, The Havels will perform in part on the extraordinary Renaissance instrument, the viola da gamba.

Havlová and Havel started working together in the mid-80s, in the experimental Capella Antiqua e Moderna ensemble, which won them both public and critical acclaim. The repertoire of that unique association of musicians of their generation –- well versed in music history –- spanned various styles of European classical music, ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary music. Within this context, Havlová and Havel developed a very unorthodox approach to both historical and modern compositional techniques and interpretive procedures.

Since then, The Havels have collaborated intensively with many other leading Czech and foreign artists with noted partners including Jiří Stivín, Czech jazz multi-instrumentalist of world renown; avant-garde drummer Alan Vitouš; and impulsive guitarist Tony Ackerman, as well as dancers Karel Vaněk and Eva Černá, painter Radek Pilař, and others. They have traveled extensively, making return trips to the desert villages of Rajasthan, India where they recorded hours of folk and spiritual music that was released on four CDs (Agni, Maha Rudra Yagya, Sri Mahaprahuji Bhajans, Sri Madhavananda Bhajans), a distinct selection within their impressive 18-album discography.

The Havels are sometimes classified as belonging to a specific musical current, however, labeling their music as alternative, global, new acoustic, improvised, experimental, minimalist or meditative music, means classifying it in categories that very often actually tell nothing about its form and content. The means they use for their expression are so varied and permanently changing that any attempt to verbally describe their musical dialogue falls short. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that the music is always highly poetic, enchanting, and delivered with absolute sincerity and unusual humbleness with the idea of carrying a genuinely peacemaking message.

The Havels are making only a few rare performances on this tour of the United States, and Ballroom Marfa is honored to host the duo at the Goode Crowley Theater on Sunday 18 May, 7.30pm. Ballroom welcomes everyone to join us for this special evening with two very unique performers. Tickets are $10 each at the door, with all proceeds benefiting the musicians directly.